On #tweetchats and future #sustldrconv conversations …

By Martin Brown and Andrea Learned

It has been huge fun co-hosting the sustainability leadership conversation since back in early 2013. This labor of love has introduced us to new ideas, leaders and friends, both in social media and in real life. However with emerging additional commitments (Martin with his forthcoming FutuREstorative book, Andrea in her new We Mean Business role) we have decided to scale back.

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What ambitiously started as monthly chats, then dropped to every two months or so. We now propose to drop to 3 or less per year, likely with Martin taking the lead and Andrea an occasional guest host.

Having given time freely to run the conversation series for a few years now, we have huge respect for others who run regular successful chats on twitter. They are time consuming and don’t happen overnight. Guests and topic are sought, questions and anticipated responses discussed, promotion and invites managed, in addition to the hosting and post chat transcripts … it all takes more time than the casual tweet-chat observer might realize.

Tweet chat hosts are by no means simply hosts. Instead, they need to be fairly knowledgeable in the topic and to know their way around, have experience in and be well known on across social media. They need to have developed a trusted reputation within their topic’s community, and thus, be able to persuade a fair number of people to take an hour from an already busy day to learn in an often very new-to-them way.

Through #sustldrconv we feel we have established a brand for sustainability conversations. We’ve held very successful conversations, connected many twitter users through excellent guests, and shared great content (see some of our Storify accounts). Perhaps most important to us, we know from feedback that we’ve moved the needle on sustainability awareness for many.

Keen to not lose that influence or brand, sustldrconv will continue, but on a less rigid footing, holding chats to meet demand, related to our own work or research and related themes. That said, the experience and skill we have developed should not go to waste. For example Martin will continue to be “for hire” as Tweetchat consultant and Andrea will be using her strengths, perhaps more behind the scenes, with her work the rest of this year.

In addition we would not be adverse for our great friends, guests and contributors to the series so far to ‘guest’ host future #sustldrconv from. If that interests you, please so get in touch.

Social media technology is changing fast. Martin has often commented that the tweet chat is the new benchmarking. No longer do we need to travel and spend to understand what others are doing. There is so much initial fact-finding that can be done from our offices or homes, with little more than an hour’s chat investment. It will be interesting to see how the tweet chat element of twitter develops or is eclipsed by new applications. (Will this year’s SXSW-emergent social media app Meerkat or twitters own Periscope replace some twitter sharing?)

We thank you for your interest in, and support of, #SustLdrConv these past years. We have enjoyed learning with you, and have felt so rewarded by perhaps getting even a handful of you more interested in the power of Twitter and sustainability.

Martin and Andrea

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