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!