Monday, March 3, 2014

Backchannel Fun: Behind the Scenes of NYEDChat

In the world of Twittersphere magic there is an element that sparks creativity and light-heartedness: backchannel conversations. Last Monday, my Google co-moderators and I took guest host, Peter Catalanotto, backstage (so-to-speak), for a test ride before
NYEDChat aired. Since it was Peter's first Twitter ed chat and Google Hangout experience, he good-naturedly agreed to learn how to navigate two platforms (Google Hangout and Twitter chat) while responding to the questions posed on the topic, teaching writing to children. What transpired was instant collaboration with a harmonious ring that made Peter comfortable with my group of dedicated PLN Peeps: Tony Sinanis, Vicki Day, and Blanca Duarte. It was not until the evening's NYEDChat was over that the real fun began. As our moderating team tried to wind down from the flow of tweets that streamed across our screens, we continued our backchannel conversations, unbeknown to the Twitter followers who already wished us good night. Donning various virtual props from the Google Effects' menu, we enjoyed many moments of light-hearted laughter that you will not find documented in the Storify version of the February 24 2014 #nyedchat. With a desire to capture the merriment, a screenshot was taken to be immortalized in the annuls of NYEDChat on nyedchat.wikispaces.comn/home. 
Backchannel Fun
Tony Sinanis, center, Left to Right: Carol Varsalona, Peter Catalanotto, Vicky Day, Blanca Duarte 
What follows is my tech-age tale to memorialize the enjoyment of a truly enjoyable time with the moderators' guest host, Peter Catalanotto. 
Once upon a time, there was a magical peepdom called NYEDChat, located somewhere in the Twittersphere, where knowledge and smiles ran like flowing water. A jovial king, Tony of Cantiague, resided there and looked kindly upon those who entered his peepdom. Wise man that he was, he surrounded himself with a group of five, like-minded individuals, who traveled from near and far to serve the Peepdom of NYEDChat. Along with Tony of Cantiague, they spread good cheer and brought conversations of great magnitude every other Monday to all the good tweeps in the land. There was Lady Carol, keeper of the documents, blogger, and publicist, Lady Victoria who storified the records and smored the good news, and Lady Blanca who identified her technology talents with a jeweled crown, fancying herself a royal princess. Sir Bill, the in-house doctor and chief confidante to Tony of Cantiague, and Lady Starr, blogger personified, rounded out the team. The Council's fame grew with each Tweet Chat and the news reached to outside peepdoms. Tweeps virtually gathered to learn and share smiles that were generously bestowed. All was golden BUT good fortune has its way of turning to dust at times. 

After many cold and wintery days, a strange disease took hold of the land. The Blizzard Blues made everyone cranky. Smiles were forgotten. "Ah, an intervention is needed!" called Lady Carol and so a decree was announced by Tony of Cantiague. "Let it be known that in our peepdom, hot chocolate, a roaring fire, and a special NYEDChat will bring joy to all." The search for an unparalled hero who could rescue the peepdom from the Blizzard Blues began at the stroke of midnight.

From a lofted manor far away a single voice responded. "It is I, Sir Peter, who will restore smiles to the land of NYEDChat through my pen and brush strokes." Couriers tweeted the news. "Hear ye, good peeps. A talented author/illustrator of children's tales will ride through storms of snow and ice to bring pearls of wisdom to our land. It has been decreed that smiles and laughter will be restored." 

The night that Sir Peter came to the royal council was a fortuitous one but shortly after his grand arrival, things went awry. Not familiar with Twitter proceedings at court, Sir Peter needed the tutelage of the royal council before his pearls of wisdom could be spread near and far. The usual potion, 1-2-3, did not seem to work and in the Google Hangout space next to Sir Peter's name a blank picture appeared. King Tony belted out, "Take action, for the hour approaches when the royal chat is to commence." With a flick of a sparkle from the tiara upon head, Lady Blanca, lit the screen and voila, Sir Peter appeared.  Then, a royal glitch occurred: "Oh, no! Will the scheduler work?" As that was said, the clock struck 8:30 and the royal chat commenced. The conversation flowed slowly at first, making the transition to a faster pace manageable for the hero with pen in hand. Country folk listened and lurked, while veteran twitters chirped away responding to Sir Peter's wisdom and each other's comments. Despite all of this, smiles were not restored and the quest seemed to be doomed.

The royal council watched a frowning eye peering out from King Tony's monocle. "Oh dear, what shall be done?" Lady Vicky exclaimed. "Stoke the fire, pour more hot chocolate, and provide the Storify to see if smiles will be restored." King Tony proclaimed. The task was accomplished but still to no avail. What would become of the land of NYEDChat? 

With that last thought, laughter filled the room and the Blizzard Blues turned golden. In place of Sir Peter, a friendly dog and an empty potion was found. As in all tales with happy endings, our land was saved from the Blizzard Blues by the gallant hero who restored smiles through the flick of pearls of wisdom and good-hearted laughter. 

Truth be told, "Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face." 
(Victor Hugo)

So, enjoy life, "For a day without laughter is a day wasted." 
(Charlie Chaplin)

Visit #nyedchat tonight for another learning opportunity with favorite peeps.