Guest Moderator Series: I moderated #hcsmca & survived
The #hcsmca community grows and grows richer through our practice of rotating moderators. First time moderator Alaina Cyr shares her experience.
By Alaina Cyr
On Wednesday, January 18, I had my first go at moderating the #hcsmca chat (transcript). Even though the community has never been anything but kind, the minutes leading up to the chat had me biting my nails. Sure, I may be a regular participant, and I may have even tweeted and retweeted many of the community members, but leading the group discussion put me front and centre; after all, if the spotlight is on any one person during our weekly chats, it’s on the moderator. I knew I had nothing to worry about – the community is so warm and welcoming – but there’s just no reasoning with nerves!
So in the minutes leading up to the chat, I reviewed the topics, prepared my scripted tweets, and took several deep breaths, waiting for showtime. Seconds after the clock hit 1 pm, I posted the first tweets to kick off my first stint at moderating:
After a few seconds – which seemed like hours – the introductions started trickling in.
Then the conversations started to pour in. I quickly found myself surrendering to the refresh button, loading up tweets as fast as I could read them. Though I usually find myself frantically refreshing the feed when I take part in an #hcsmca chat, my motivation for doing so was different this time. As the moderator, I felt responsible for welcoming everyone – regulars, newbies, and lurkers alike – to follow along, and feeding the conversation by asking questions.
For the first time during a tweet-up, I kept on top of all parts of the conversations (as best as I could manage), and didn’t focus only on the pieces I was taking part in. I spent more time really listening to what others were saying and less time throwing in my two cents. Before I knew it, my nervousness had disappeared and we had reached the end of our hour (though I must admit a certain sense of relief when all was said and done).
This chat was the most impactful #hcsmca to me, and not because I was “in charge”. Rather, it was because moderating changed the way I experienced the chat. Though sharing our opinions and experiences creates some value to our tweet-ups, the real value is in engaging others in conversation to learn and grow together. You don’t have to be the moderator to do that.
Thank you to Colleen and the #hcsmca community for giving me the opportunity to moderate a chat. I very much look forward to our next tweet-up!
Over 20 members have hosted an #hcsmca so far. What tip would you offer our future moderators?