The “Guide to Twitter Chat” Edition

Twitter ChatIf you’ve ever been on Twitter and happen to catch a bunch of tweets which seem to be a conversation and use the same #hashtag, you’ve just experienced a Twitter chat.

A Twitter chat is a scheduled (typically an hour) time when a group of Tweeps get together to discuss one particular subject whether it’s marketing, finding a job or favorite recipes.

The cool thing about a Twitter chat is that they are open to all and provide great opportunities to learn, network and promote your own brand and expertise.

If you participate in, or run, a great Twitter chat which you think other folks should know about, please mention the #hashtag and usual meeting times in the comments section.

While not a new phenomenon, Twitter chats can be intimidating for the novice and even experienced chatters are on the lookout for tips to getting more out of each chat.

Below, I’ve gathered the whys and how-tos of Twitter chats for your Friday pleasure.

Oh, and if you participate in, or run, a great Twitter chat which you think other folks should know about, please mention the #hashtag and usual meeting times in the comments section. Thanks!


Why Should I Participate in a Twitter Chat?

As I mentioned above, Twitter chats provide great opportunities to learn, network and promote your own brand and expertise. But don’t just take my word for it:

Twitter Chats: A Goldmine of Traffic, Followers and Knowledge

Why Should I Participate in a Twitter Chat?

What Twitter Chats Can Do For Your Job Search

How Do I Participate in (or Start) a Twitter Chat?

Whether you want to be a participant or start a Twitter chat of your own, these links are chock full of advice and tips:

10 Steps to Creating a Successful Twitter Chat – Tips from the founder of one of the most successful Twitter chats ever, #blogchat

HOW TO: Start and Run a Successful Twitter Chat

How to Participate in a Twitter Chat

The Quick Guide to Twitter Chats

Twitter Chat Tips

And here’s a handy guide to all those acronyms you see used in Twitter chats (and online in general):

Twitter Chat and Text-Messaging Abbreviations

And last in this section, but certainly not least, the ultimate list of Twitter chats for your participation pleasure. This is free and constantly updated on Google Docs:

Twitter Chat Schedule

Tools for Twitter Chats

If you have a favorite tool or method you use to participate in Twitter chats which I do not mention, use the comments section below to share.

There are many tools which you can use to participate in Twitter chats. I’ve listed a few below, but would love to hear from you if you have a favorite tool or method you use to participate in Twitter chats which I do not mention. Use the comments section below to share. Thanks!

This first list contain links to tools which allow you put on “blinders” so you can view a Twitter chat stream with no distractions:

TweetChat
twebevent
SavorChat

If you just want to use your regular Twitter client, these tools allow you to create specific columns based on a #hashtag search, an ideal way to track Twitter chats.

Hootsuite
TweetDeck
Seesmic

Comments

  1. Great post – you’ve pulled together several good articls on Twitter chats – thanks for including two of mine above, Why Should I Participate in a Twitter Chat? & Twitter Chat Tips.

    One other program that is great for participating in chats is http://tweetgrid.com – this free third-party tool make sit easy for a chat host to create a “party mode” custom tweetgrid of three columns – the guest (put their name 1st when creating a grid) & hosts tweets in the middle column, all the tweets using the Chat #hashtag in the right column – & individuals can put their own @username in the right column – to see tweets of people engaging/interacting with them.

    Once the host creates a custom grid – they can use the short URL at the top to tweet it our and promote the chat and invite people to join em on the chat.

    The only problem is recently – the center grid seems to be only showing one person’s tweets in the middle column – rather than both host & guest ( if there are two people – not all chats have guests). When it works fully – it is great – as the host’s questions & guest’s answers are highlighted in the middle column & don’t get lost in the flow of tweets.

    Tweetchat is simpler, so if you are checking out a chat for first time, this might be the one to use, but Tweetgrid can make the info flow a bit easier to manage, once you get the hang of it.

    Also – a tip for both programs – you can hit “pause” on Tweetchat and on Tweetgrid “stop” to pause the flow of new tweets and reador reply to someone – just don’t forget to “unpause” or “search” to restart the flow.

    Cathy Larkin

    • Cathy,

      Thanks for expanding on the already great advice you gave in your two posts!

      I thought about including Tweetgrid, but was hesitant because I read about some of the issues. If it works as you say, it’s certainly a handy tool, and one well worth giving a try.

      Thanks also for your “pause” suggestion. In the first few Twitter chats I attended, those were lifesavers in helping me keep up with the conversation!

      -Matt

  2. Matt, this article was great as I’m kinda what one would call a ‘twitter idiot’. But I’m attempting to get better, and articles like this one, that actually are understandable by the average Joe biz owner (that’s me 😉 ) can make all the difference.

    Thx for all the value buddy.

    Marcus

    • Marcus,

      I’m glad found it useful!

      Twitter should not be scary – it’s all about talking to other folks, that’s really all. 🙂

      Twitter chats on the other hand are like being in a meeting where everyone is talking at once. Now that can be scary, but the tricks and tools above should help.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      -Matt

  3. Great advice – thank you

  4. Matt, Thx also from me for posting two of my links. I hope that the Chat Schedule doc and the twebevent tool are useful tools for people. The twebevent product is meant more as a tool for hosts to provide some contextual information around the chat stream, eg. special guests, instructions, host, etc… to their chatters

    Thought your readers might also like this post on the Evolution of Twitter Use which has chatting as part of the evolution. http://swanthinks.wordpress.com/2009/09/15/the-evolution-of-twitter-use/

    All the best,
    Swan
    @twchat

    • Swan,

      The chat schedule doc is one of the most useful resources I’ve come across online so happy to share! Thanks for compiling it and working to keep it up to date.

      I like the evolution article, too. It’s always good for folks new at something to see that others who came before had to learn the ropes.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      -Matt

  5. Great article! We offer help with preparing a variation of the Twitter chat: the Twitter party, which are more one-time Twitter events sponsored by a company or non-profit organization. The party is different from the chat in that in the party while there might be a discussion topic or theme, the mission/goals of the sponsor are ever-present. We have a detailed listing of all Twitter parties on our site, http://www.tweeparties.com

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