What is a Twitter chat?
While many descriptions abound, I like the following: Imagine a business networking event without a dress code and with a keyboard instead of a bar.
Or to be more precise…
A group of Twitter users meet at a pre-determined time to discuss set topics using a designated hashtag (#) for each tweet contributed. The moderator of the chat poses questions (Q1, Q2, Q3,…) to prompt responses from participants (A1, A2, A3, …). Each chat usually lasts an hour.
When I first joined Twitter, I shied away from participating in chats. To be truthful, I found them intimidating. I tried to follow the flow of several conversations and wondered how anyone could keep up with the constant flow of information. I had read somewhere that participating in a Twitter chat is like trying to navigate rapids while white water rafting. Not something I’ve ever tried or even considered.
After several weeks of lurking, I decided to jump into the conversation. Once I got into the flow, I didn’t find it that difficult to keep up with the others. I was able to join conversations and retweeted several tweets. I was thrilled when other people retweeted my tweets.
Since then, I have become a regular participant in the following chats:
#SpiritChat – Kumud Ajmani moderates this chat at 9:00a.m.ET on Sundays. The primary focus is on spirituality (not religion) and moving forward on the path to spiritual growth. Last week’s topic – Intelligence and Spirituality.
#PoCChat – Bobby Umar moderates this chat at 11:00a.m.ET on Mondays. PoC stands for Power of Connection and the focus is on leadership, relationships, and development. Last week’s topic – Building Thought Leadership.
#DaretoBe – Andrea Sanchez moderates this chat at 8:00p.m.ET on Tuesdays. A new chat first introduced in November 2014, the focus is on challenging participants to think outside the box. Last week’s topic – Dare to Dream Big.
#PFWChat – Katia Millar moderates this chat at 11:00a.m.ET on Thursdays. PFW stands for Positive Fabulous Women and attracts participants who intend to live their passions and make a difference. Last week’s topic – Creating Your Epic Love Story,
Some tips for newbies…
- Find a chat that meets your interests here.
- Give your Twitter followers a heads-up before joining a Twitter chat and share an invitation. E.g. High tweet alert ahead. Join us at #spiritchat.
- Inform everyone that you are new to the chat. More seasoned participants will welcome and include you in conversations.
- Use Twitter handles when answering a specific question from another participant.
- Keep tweets under 120 characters. This will make it easier for others to retweet.
- Include the chat hashtag in all your responses.
- Feel free to dip in and out of a Twitter chat. You don’t have to stay for the entire hour.
- Use a chat tool if you have difficulty keeping track of all the tweets. Get more information here.
- Follow up with people after the chat if you wish to build more connections.