I recently attended a social media meeting in Atlanta where there were many Twitter chat questions left unanswered due to the meeting time restraint. If you are asking yourself, “What is Twitter chat? How does it work? How can I get started?” please read on.
Every day there are many Twitter chat events happening online that you can participate in without leaving the comfort of your home or office. Participating or hosting a Twitter chat is a way to engage in conversation with others who share your interests. You are able to ask questions or give input, learn something new, and network with people from all around the world.
What is a Twitter chat? It is a virtual conversation using Twitter that is set-up at a specific day and time. These conversations are formed by using a pre-determined hashtags (#) to link those tweets together.
How do I find Twitter chat topics? Find a Twitter chat by browsing the Twitter Chat List on Google docs. This list has information on over 400 chats and will specify the topic, the chat name with its hashtag, and the moderator(s). Most Twitter chats have a specific day and time, are bi-weekly, bi-monthly or are only on announced times. Some examples of Twitter chats are: Social media and marketing – smochat, medical – RNchat, brands #brandchat.
You can also find hashtags for topics you are interested in by using sites like Hashtags.org and Hashtag.it
How do I find the right Twitter chat? It is not necessary to have a Twitter account to follow and read a Twitter chat. You can do this easily by using one of the several sites that will allow you to follow the chat. To participate in the conversation just log in and start typing. There are several sites you can use like Tweetchat.com and Twubs.com. Just insert the chat name in the search area of these sites and read on.
If you use a twitter client like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck you can set it up to search for hashtags and follow the conversation.
- Look-up the designated time for the Twitter chat you would like to participate in.
- Be prepared to join the conversation by researching the hashtag ahead of time. Some of the moderators have a blog or facebook page that provides the format and a list of questions that will be discussed during the next chat.
- The moderator may have a guest speaker.
- Moderators may welcome participants, ask questions and help keep the conversation on track.
- Introduce yourself in the beginning of the chat.
- When you ask the moderator or guest speaker a question, please stay on topic.
- Answer the moderator’s questions, keep the conversation relevant and valuable, and engage with others.
- Remember, even your followers who are not on the Twitter chat can see your stream, so re-tweet answers or links you find helpful.
- Include the hashtag in your posts in case your followers would like to follow along.
- It is okay to just watch and follow the conversation.
- It is not okay to market or sell your products or services.
Now that you know what to do, it is time to have some fun, expand your network, and meet new people with interests similar to yours. Enjoy!