Twitter Chat 101: A Guide for the Beginner

Each Monday night, the Social Solutions Collective, which I am a proud member of, hosts a ‘Twitter Chat’ at 8 PM EST. It is not the most optimum time for this freelancing, busy mom to join in, but about twice a month, I get to join all, or part of, the chat.

I try to share the details of each #collectivechat with my Facebook fans sometime during the day on Monday and almost every single Monday that I invite my fans to join me, I get questions on how to join a chat. Time for a simple, step-by-step instruction guide, don’t you agree?

So here we go…Twitter Chat 101

Step 1

Find an interesting Twitter Chat to join! Each Twitter Chat lasts about an hour and is recognized on Twitter by a unique hashtag (#). Often, the name of the #chat will imply the topic of the chat. Think #PinChat #BlogChat #CollegeCash #DadChat #MediaChat #GetRealChat etc.

To find what you are looking for, check out this Google Doc with many Twitter Chats listed or find this list (and others like it) on List.ly.

Step 2

Choose a Twitter Chat tool you can work with! Yes, you can join and participate in a chat while on the Twitter interface (just type the #chatname into the Twitter search bar), or while mobile, but neither is an optimal way to go about it.

Here are some tools I’ve used and like:

  • Twubs.com
  • HootSuite.com (dedicate a stream to the #tweetchat of your choice to follow along)
  • TweetChat.com (undergoing reconstruction, stay tuned)

Step 3

Log onto the online Chat Tool at the appointed time and be ready with nimble fingers. Feed the #chat hashtag into the tool and monitor the conversation first, join the conversation second.

DO:

  1. Say ‘hello’ and introduce yourself to the group.
  2. Do identify yourself as a newbie (whether to Twitter, that specific chat or any tweet chat)
  3. Respond when someone @mentions you.
  4. Make sure to include the #chat hashtag in EACH and EVERY tweet you post (your tool should do that for you!) so you are not just listening, but part of the conversation.
  5. A (answer) the Q (questions) as they come along and provide value and knowledge in your A (answers)
  6. Follow chat participants on Twitter.
  7. RT (Retweet) words of wisdom and good tweetsof fellow participants .
  8. Follow up meaningful conversations after the chat and possibly put together a Twitter list with the chat participants in it.
DO NOT:
  1. RT (=Retweet) each and every Q (question) as it is asked. That is not necessary and becomes redundant.
  2. Jump into a conversation without knowing what they are talking about.
  3. Do not link to unrelated topics and spam the group.
  4. Do not ‘hijack’ the #hashtag and start an unrelated conversation while the chat is going on.
  5. Do not use the chat to market yourself and sell. People are there to learn and connect.
Side Note: You can use the same principle of a Twitter Chat (and use the same tools) while at a Live Event. It could be a sport event (Olympic Games, World Championship Soccer, Wimbledon Tennis), a concert, or a conference. It is a great way to connect with fellow event participants and let your followers in on what you see and hear, live. Most live event organizers who utilize social media themselves, will see the potential for added exposure for their brand and supply you with a dedicated #hashtag for your use.

Dino Dogan

Global Force for Badassery | Founder of Triberr | Refugee from Bosnia | Writer for Technorati | Speaker | Lousy Martial Artist | Pretty good singer/songwriter | Hi :-)

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  • Stuart Blessman

    Eager for Twitter Chat 102 and 103!