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Why not take a turn in the driving seat? Hosting #ECRChat

This is a guest post by Rachel Walls on her experience of hosting an #ECRchat and how you can get involved.

Last summer I hosted my first #ECRChat on the topic of changing track in your research and/or career.  This was a great opportunity to introduce myself (and my place of work, @ImperialPDC) to early career researchers and research developers across the world.  It also gave me the chance to gain insight into an issue I wasn’t so familiar with and pose the questions I was keen to ask to a diverse range of people.

If you want to host an #ECRChat then it really is quite straightforward.  You don’t even need to come up with a topic: the #ECRChat team will help you put a poll on their WordPress site so that chat participants can chose.

Here are the simple steps to being an #ECRChat host.

Before the chat:

  • Check out the #ECRChat blog and upcoming dates for chats (see calendar).
  • Read the list of ideas or think about your own topics you would like to suggest.
  • Get in touch with ECR Chat and tell them you would like to be a host, suggesting dates you are available and whether you have a topic in mind and/or want to hold a poll.
  • Once you’ve agreed a date and chosen a topic, or had the results of the poll, think of 4 or 5 clear and concise questions to pose to the #ECRchat participants.
  • Consider your own experiences of the chosen topic as you might want to be ready to share them as part of the discussion (but no pressure, you don’t have to!)
  • Advertise your upcoming chat on twitter and by any other means!

On the day of the chat:

  • Be ready, a few minutes before the time of the chat, on Tweetchat or another programme that enables you to follow #ECRchat tweets easily
  • When the clock strikes #ECRchat time, say hello and introduce yourself and the topic
  • Welcome others and ask them to introduce themselves
  • Pose your first question. Label your questions Q1, Q2 and so on
  • Engage with those who respond if you can type quick enough!
  • You might type further prompts, summarise or retweet people’s comments, but don’t worry if you don’t have time – it is most important to be yourself and enjoy the chat
  • Keep an eye on the clock; judge when to move on to your next question
  • If you don’t get through all your questions it is not the end of the world
  • Just before the hour is over, tweet that the chat is coming to the end and thank people for participating
  • Say goodbye!

After the chat:

  • Follow all the new interesting people  you have ‘met’
  • Go to Storify and save the tweets from your chat (best to do this sooner rather than later as they are only available for a week)
  • Write a summary of your chat for the #ECRchat blog
  • If you need assistance with this contact the #ECRchat team

Thanks Rachel! We are always looking for more hosts, new ideas of topics, and important developments in the ECR community that we should discuss. Get in touch with your ideas on Twitter or by email.



Postdoc in psychology and cognitive neuroscience, researching visual word recognition. Likes MEG, TMS, fMRI, reading, waffles, and motorbiking.

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