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

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