Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Chat much?

This last week several people have asked, "What is the point of Twitter?" Many people still view Twitter as a place for teens to share narcissistic posts about their lives but it can be so much more than that. I use Twitter to share articles that I find interesting or helpful to the people who follow me. I also post occasional special offers on design work or photography.

My favorite thing, however, are Twitter chats. Twitter chats are when a group of people get together at a set time to discuss a predetermined topic. To see an example of a twitter chat check out my friend Dan Forbes #LeadwithGiants chat on Storify.

Joining a chat can seem overwhelming at first but it doesn't have to be. Here are few steps to make your first chat a success.

How to Participate

First install a Twitter client that will allow you to create separate streams. I use Hootesuite but there are others out there.

Find the hashtag of the chat. These can be found by clicking on the hashtags of people you follow or by searching for topics that interest you on Twitter.

Set up the hashtag on it's own stream so that you can follow just the chat, without all being overwhelmed by the posts of all the other people you follow.

Now just wait for the questions and post your answers.

Etiquette

In most chats, the chat host and/or their invited co-host will ask questions. Unless specifically stated it is not helpful for other participants to pose questions to the host or co-host. There are a few exceptions, such as needing clarification. Most chats are only an hour long so it's helpful if everyone stays on topic as much as possible.

Questions are indicated by the letter Q and the question number. Q1 would be question one. Some chats prefer that only the host posts the question. Others encourage members to retweet the question to ensure that more people see it.

Answers are displayed in the same fashion with the letter A and the question number. A1 would be an answer to question 1. There are rarely any right or wrong answers. Often the questions are open ended and allow for a variety of answers from the more serious to the downright silly.

Often people will retweet an existing answer if they agree with it or want to add to it. This is fine, but if you need to modify someone else's tweet for length then change the RT to an MT for modifid tweet and make sure that the modification doesn't change the meaning.

Always use the chat hashtag. If you don't, then other's won't see your tweets and be able to respond to you. Most people who participate in chats are viewing a filtered twitter stream so you want to make sure that you can be seen and heard. Many chat's request that you do not use other hashtags in your answers as it can come across as spamming the chat.

These tips will, hopefully, make Twitter chats seem less overwhelming. Hope to to see you at one soon!