This post was mostly inspired from a quick comment my colleague and one of my best friends IRL Jim (@stanojb) said to me the other day while he was in a twitter chat.
More or less, he commented that there were a lot of people participating, which is a great thing, but there was so much activity going on, that there was no way to follow it all. And here is the first tip for making the most out of your Twitter chats.
Some Quick Tips to Make the Most of Your Chatting Experience
Follow What You can in the Conversation - Whether it is focusing on everyone's answer for a few questions or following a few responses for all the questions, follow what you can handle.
Have the Right Tools - There are a few different ways to get started technology wise for your Twitter chat. Check out my post outlining a few options.
Lurk Once, Participate After - A new group may be intimidating for you. That's okay! "Lurk" or watch the chat occur the first time, and get involved in the chats after that first one. Get a feel for how people respond.
Don't Forget the Hashtag! - This probably should be the first one, but don't forget to include the hashtag in your tweet! It is important so you can add your thoughts to the pool and continue the discussion with everyone. It can be first or last or somewhere in the middle of your tweet.
Check Out the Archive - Whether it is you manually searching the hashtag after the chat or catching a archive someone in the chat made, take a look at what was said. Jim is right, there is a lot going on and everyone is talking at once. Chances are, you missed an important piece of information or thoughts that you either love or want to know more
Network - Maybe easier said than done for some people, but connect with others in the chat, ask questions, continue the discussions after the chat and days in between the chats.
Introduce Yourself - Even if all you are doing is lurking, be sure to introduce yourself to the group. Goes along with the networking.
Find the MOD - It is important to find the moderator or MOD of the conversation. Sometimes it is a person and sometimes it is an account for the chat. It is important to know who it is so you can find the questions easier while you are chatting.
Have Fun! - This is a neat feature to help you continue to learn and grow as a professional while sharing your thoughts. Plus you get to spend sometime with people interested in the same thing as you, which is always awesome!
We know Twitter is a way of sharing information. Sometimes it is a link to an article, sometimes it is a reaction to who was eliminated from the Big Brother House, and sometimes it is letting everyone know you are excited to go on vacation. Whatever the information, we find our tweets riddled with hashtags.
What if there was a specific tag that a group of people used? What if that group of people all hopped onto their Twitter accounts and subsequently "chatted" to one another? Welcome to Twitter Chats or Tweet Chats.
With the inaugural student leader chat #SLchat tomorrow at 7 pm, I wanted to take a second and create a quick post about how to get yourself started technology wise for the chat. Here are three options for following and participating in a Twitter Chat.
Option 1: Twitter
While this looks like the most obvious, it is the most complicated. It involves searching the hashtag, constantly clicking on the new tweets available, and not really feeling like you are in the moment of a chat, but rather a few minutes behind. I do recommend having your Twitter page open to your interactions so you know when someone talks to you.
Option 2: TweetDeck / Hootsuite
Both TweetDeck and Hootsuite are based on the idea of having "streams" of information. Both are free to use. You are able to add a stream (each site has different instructions) that is the searched hashtag. As tweets contain the hashtag, they are added to the stream virtually instantly. There is a much smaller gap and feels like a conversation. The downside is all of your Twitter activity is going on at the same time and can get you distracted.
Option 3: tchat.io / tweetchat.com
Both tchat.io and TweetChat bring the feel of the old school chat-room with the modern nature of Twitter. Both of these sites are web based. You log-in and give permission via your Twitter account. You search the hashtag. The "chat-room" is comprised of a typing area for your tweets (and it already includes the hashtag at the end of the message) followed by a single stream of tweets from the other people chatting. These sites allow you to focus on the chat. You can still reply, favorite, and re-tweet just like you can on Twitter. They are both mobile friendly in the internet app of your choice, which can't really be said for the others (I find them all much more difficult once you go to your phone or tablet).
My Twitter Chat Recipe
After experimenting with all of these options and a few others, my recipe for optimizing my chatting ability is tchat.io in one tab on my computer and my interactions section of Twitter in another tab. If I happen to be on my iPad, then I still use tchat.io, but I must have my keyboard near by. My iPad is set to send me a banner notification of interactions.
This should get you started and involved in the Twitter Chats for whatever your interest is. Let me know if you have any questions by commenting below or connecting with me on Twitter @JoshKohnert.
Click Here to learn how to make the most out of your chatting experience!