New Community, Same Community


As with so many other writers for, and readers of, this site, I tend to spend my Thursdays at 1pm participating in #sachat, a structured Student Affairs topic chat on Twitter sponsored by the Student Affairs Collaborative.

But in the absence of an #sachat this week, I stumbled upon a different chat of interest- #HBRchat. For those unfamiliar with the Harvard Business Review, I highly recommend it. It’s a great source for business-based advice that can apply to our work. I jumped at the chance to participate, and gain new perspective on the topic (the timing of management training); I was also interested in watching the dynamic of chats with a different community.



What Was The Same?

Like with #sachat, #HBRchat featured a moderator, several questions, and opportunities to chime in and guidance from the moderator. They have their own group of “regulars” who stop by each week and seem to know each other. That said, they are also welcoming of and responsive to new members of the community, and I felt welcomed and affirmed by several members of the chat as I chimed in from an admittedly different perspective. Retweets flew as important points surfaced and common ground was reached.



What Was Different?
While many aspects of this completely different chat felt comfortable, some elements starkly differed. As an example, chat questions are posted in advance so participants could ponder answers in advance. I love that,  I am wondering if #sachat would consider it? But most drastically, people disagreed. We hear often how the field of Student Affairs serves as an echo chamber, where the same ideas bounce around and dissent is rarely voiced (or greeted warmly when it is voiced). Here, in a “chat” room of business professionals, dissent was open, understood, and completely acceptable. The same level of learning was occurring, but challenge was an acceptable and expected part of the process.



It was an adjustment, learning to participate in a different type of chat with a different group of professionals. But I learned a lot, both about myself and about how I best learn. I loved seeing a different community that while being a marked departure from my normal Thursday fare, also welcomed the challenge that a new forum invited. While I look forward to the return of #sachat shortly, I may be heading back to #HBRchat when I need something a little different and out of my daily routine.



What are your unlikely sources of inspiration? What do you learn from those with different perspectives?

Amma Marfo
@ammamarfo

Student Affairs - the First Years

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