The (Complete) Twitter Backchannel at #CIRTLForum

Last month I shared a quick analysis of the Twitter backchannel at the CIRTL Network Forum in Madison, Wisconsin. That analysis was completed before the end of the conference, and so I’d like to now share a summary of the entire #CIRTLForum backchannel conversation.

As of the evening of October 12th (the final day of the forum), there were 887 tweets with the #CIRTLForum hashtag from 71 unique Twitter accounts. You can read all 1,321 conference tweets here in this Google Docs spreadsheet. I’ve shared this spreadsheet publicly with the web, although only I can edit it. If you hit Control-F while viewing, you should be able to search the spreadsheet.

Here’s a word cloud of those 887 tweets, minus the hashtag:

(A word cloud is a very simple text visualization tool. Words that appear more frequently in the text appear in larger fonts in the word cloud. Click on any of the word clouds seen here for a larger view.)

You can see a number of Twitter handles in the word cloud, indicating that the backchannel included a lot of retweeting and conversation. Here’s a word cloud of the tweets with those user names removed to give a slightly better sense of the content of those tweets:

What did we talk about at the CIRTL Network Forum?  Faculty, students, teaching, learning, research, competencies, and more. I see a number of speaker names in there, including Jo Handelsman, Ann Austin, David Feldon, and Bob Mathieu. I also see a few words associated with particular ideas discussed by panelists at the conference, including “work/life” and “balance,” discussed by those on our junior faculty panel, and “1/6” and “Beloit,” a reference to the Beloit College policy that requires faculty to teach 1/6 of their courses outside their discipline. I also spot “st875” in the word cloud, a reference to the hashtag #st875 used by a grad course on college teaching taught by Sarah Miller at UW-Madison.

Among the 887 tweets, 68 links were shared.  Here’s a list of the most frequently shared links:

Who were the top tweets at the Forum? Here’s the top ten:

  1. derekbruff – Derek Bruff, Vanderbilt U.
  2. sarahmilleruw – Sarah Miller, U. Wisconsin-Madison
  3. GinaSpitzUW – Gina Spitz, U. Wisconsin-Madison
  4. PeterC_UW – Peter Cavnar, U. Wisconsin-Madison
  5. rkniemer – Rachel Niemer, U. Michigan
  6. drhmw – Heather Whitney, Wheaton College
  7. GinaSpitz – also Gina Spitz, U. Wisconsin-Madison
  8. iTeach4NE – Neal Bryan, U. Nebraska-Lincoln
  9. sciencegeekgirl – Stephanie Chasteen, U. Colorado-Boulder
  10. BrentABerger – Brent Berger, U. Wisconsin-Madison

Thanks again to everyone who contributed to the backchannel. For an even with close to 200 people, we had an incredibly rich backchannel.


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