Tag Archives: Twitter debate

Paperight learns how to start Twitter Debates

In March 2014, we were approached by Kelsey Wiens of DevelopOA, and Eve Gray of the Centre for Educational Technology at UCT, about setting up a live Twitter debate to discuss issues around open access, limited textbook availability and high book prices.  What we’ve referred to as a Twitter debate is also known as a ‘Twitter Town Hall‘.

Having never been involved in something like this before, naturally we were curious and the timing was perfect for the #textbookrevolution campaign. We all agreed to use the hashtag #textbookrevolution to keep the comments and participants together. We then arranged a rough starting point, although the intention was that those who participated would be able to take the conversation in any direction they chose.

In preparation, each of the hosts reached out to contacts that might be interested  in taking part. We scheduled the debate for 1–2pm, hoping that this time would be easiest to work around. I focused mainly on contacting SRCs, student media contacts and university vice chancellors, and the responses we had were all positive. Our preparation paid off and our first debate led to a second, even more successful debate that resulted in our hashtag trending in South Africa. It appears we have a knack for this kind of thing!

To read more about how each debate went, take a look at our blog post about them.

Here are a few highlights taken from the debates. For more, click on the hashtag #textbookrevolution in the tweets below.

First Twitter Debate

Second Twitter Debate


Onwards and upwards

Though our speculated pivot meeting had been set for the end of April, following the close of the #textbookrevolution campaign, by the start of March we’d already made significant decisions about what was going to happen.

One thing was clear though: the team would be downsized. This was where the value of openness came to the fore

While we were still ultimately deciding on the actual pivot we would make with Paperight, we had several options on the table. One thing was clear though: the team would be downsized. This was where the value of openness came to the fore, as the team could see this coming, and understood, and supported the necessity of this move. The result was that, while morale was perhaps not at it’s highest, there was no resentment among team members. We decided that in moving on it was important to wrap up the first chapter of Paperight. To this end we each began writing up our individual histories (an endeavour that lead to the creation of this site). I coordinated the team in the creation of a consolidated wrap-up list to prioritise tasks to be completed before leaving.

Despite our various wrap-up tasks and activities, we were still in the final phase of the #textbookrevolution campaign. We hosted two #textbookrevolution Twitter debates along with Kelsey Wiens and Eve Grey. You can read more about how those went here.

Publisher registrations

  • Blood Moon Press (15/3/2014)
  • Gamal Lydian Marketing (17/3/2014)