Building culture on Twitter

BFC-ValuesFor the last year or so I’ve been involved with a Twitter spark chat with the hashtag #BFC530. It stands for “Breakfast Club, 5:30 am,” identifying that, yes, we remember our John Hughes’ movies and that, yes, the chat happens at 5:30 am. This year it happens at 5:30 in every time zone – for just 15 minutes – hence the word “spark” – and right now the working term for making every #BFC530 chat in a day is called The Quad. (Thanks for the idea, Eric, although we need to discuss your Man United allegiance.) We have not devised a moniker yet for making all 20 in a week.

Last fall I fell into this chat by accident. I’m usually up before 5:30 am, and poking around on Twitter at that time, I found it. While I’ve dabbled in other K-12-related Twitter-hosted chats – see here for ed hashtags, which may indicate some kind of weekly chat – I never really committed to one; #BFC530 seemed a good one to try: Time-wise, it worked for me, it lasted just 15 minutes, and its topics were an interesting mix of ed-related topics. OK, I’m in.

Here are the other qualities about this chat that I soon discovered: It’s really, really friendly and really, really supportive, just the shot of energy and thoughtfulness and good will that anyone could use at the start of his or her day. (Or the end of the day, since some participants dial in from New Zealand and Australia.) Yes, I have discovered: You can get this sort of stuff from Twitter.

I have often thought that #BFC530 is like the morning meeting routine that many schools employ; kids and staff arrive at school, they gather in a common area, announcements are made, and then there is some ending ritual, such as a song, a chant, or words of encouragement for the day. I love this kind of routine in a school; when done right, it builds that all important culture, reminding community members of qualities of the school, inculcating new members into that community, and sending folks out into the day (and the world) with a purpose, with a mission, all related to the community. A teacher or student enters a school building as an individual; a morning meeting ritual knits those individuals into a community.

#BFC530 is the same way, a band of early risers and coffee drinkers joined together through this digital morning meeting. We don’t sing a song at the end of each quick chat, but there’s always a “Make it a great day!” for every participant, a piling on of positivity that is infectious, that makes me smile. I like to think that its 15 minutes of culture building is just the tip of the iceberg for #BFC530 participants; they take that morning’s chat – its content and its affect – and bring it to all the other ice of their day. At least for me it does that, a community setting a tone and providing guidance for everything after 5:45 am.

Yup, and all on Twitter. Who woulda thunk? 🙂


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