This is what we were still seeing almost 2 hours after the launch of the inaugural #Read4Fun sparkchat. It was supposed to be a sparkchat – 15min of conversation revolving around one question. Why was it still trending 2 hours later? What happened here? Could this really be possible? The conversation had a life of it’s own. This was amazing!
How did it all begin?
On a recent Saturday, Feb. 21st to be exact, I found myself on twitter discussing the love of books and reading with three other tweeters: @smgaillard, @jen___williams and @Dr_LMR. After a few tweets back and forth we realized that we were all like minded when it came to reading. We loved reading for pleasure but rarely took the time to do it. We were all in education and found ourselves reading things mainly related to our profession. Not that professional reading is a bad thing, but we all realized that we had let our professional reading push our pleasure reading to the back burner. This was a wake-up call for all of us so we decided to do something about it.
That’s when the idea hatched…
We all agreed that it was time to start reading for pleasure again and vowed to each other that we would do just that . But when would we ever find the time to read? This is when the first part of our idea hatched: we would challenge ourselves to read for 15 minutes a day in the month of March and it had to be reading for pleasure. We wanted to re-discover the joys of reading! Soon thereafter the next part of our idea hatched: We figured we couldn’t be the only people feeling this way. How could we help others re-ignite their passion for books? It was then we decided to put our reading challenge out to the twitterverse. We decided we’d try to host a sparkchat (15min-1 question, modeled after @BFC530) once a week ( or once every other week-we really weren’t sure at this point) in the month of March. We would encourage others to (and this is when our hashtag was born) #Read4Fun!
The next week was a blur!
We decided to start our #Read4Fun chat on Sunday, March 1st. It seemed fitting since reading is celebrated all over the world in the month of March with activities and celebrations like Read Across America, Dr. Suess’ birthday, and World Book Day to name just a few. Our hashtag was set, #Read4Fun, our day and time were set, Sunday at 7pm EST, and our first question was set, “What do you #Read4Fun?” Everything was falling into place. We now had less than a week until kick off. We created an e-announcement to post to twitter and began spreading the word. We all worked at promoting #Read4Fun and by the end of the week were feeling confident that we would have a decent turnout. It was an exciting and scary feeling all at once. Could it really be possible that in one short week the four of us were turning our dream of re-igniting a passion for reading in ourselves and others into a real live twitter chat?
The big day arrives!
So, by that fateful Sunday night, just over a week since our idea had hatched, we were ready to go. We met up on twitter in a DM group and made our final plans. What happened next will go down in history, at least in our history. The chat was an overwhelming success. People from all over the world gathered together to inspire and share their love of reading with each other. The conversations were so dynamic, you could literally feel the energy! We knew this was the start of something big. Our little #Read4Fun sparkchat had evolved into a global community right before our eyes. It was a humbling experience to be connected to a group of such amazing people.
Because of the overwhelming success of the first #Read4Fun chat and the continued excitement and enthusiasm in the #Read4Fun community we decided to keep going with our idea. As I write this today, the decision has been made to make #Read4Fun a weekly chat. We have decided to officially expand the conversation to 30 minutes with 2 questions – what we are calling an Ignited Chat. We, with @smgaillard taking the lead, are starting a #Read4Fun web-site and a #Read4Fun Voxer group. The support from the #Read4Fun community has been overwhelming. For those of you who are part of the community-thank you from the bottoms of our hearts. It is because of you that #Read4Fun is a success. For those of you who are reading about the community for the first time, please think about joining us. If you can’t join the chat you can still be part of our conversations on twitter by using the #Read4Fun hash tag, you can be part of the #Read4Fun Goodreads Group that our very own @MsVenturino so graciously started, you can stop by the #Read4Fun web-site to see our latest happenings (we are just getting started with this so please be patient as we build the site!), or you can join our newly formed #Read4Fun Voxer group were you can share your thoughts and start discussions about reading and books with other like minded people. (If you’re interested in joining our Voxer coversations please DM @smgaillard and he’ll add you to our group!)
My parting thoughts for you are actually a challenge. I challenge you to find a way to re-ignite your own passion for reading and then share that passion with at least one other person. As my dear friend @jen___williams says: #GoodBringsGood!
The Optimistic Educator…