What is a Twitter Chat?
A Twitter Chat, also called Tweet Chat is when a group of people post messages (“Tweets”) on Twitter during a defined time around a particular topic. The way the people connect and are able to read the Tweets related to the particular Twitter Chat is via a particular hashtag (a word or phrase preceded by a hash symbol -> #). To have their Tweet included in the Tweet Chat they use the appropriate hashtag set by the organizer of the chat. Then, people can use tools to cut through the millions of Tweets on Twitter to only focus on people using that particular hashtag (for example, Blog Chat is a popular weekly Twitter Chat and uses the hashtag #blogchat). See this post for the definition of a hashtag.
What are typical topics?
Topics run the gamut – don’t assume that your passion is not covered somewhere by a Twitter Chat!
- My Chemical Romance Chat – #MCRchat
- Chatting about blogging – #blogchat
- Gluten Free Chat – #glutenfreechat
- Marketing and Lead Generation – #leadgenchat
- Mothering Matters – #mommatters
- Minnesota Vikings Chat – #VikingsChat
How to Find Twitter Chats
Organizations will announce upcoming chats on Twitter, so if you’re following them or see their message retweeted you can find out about them that way. Other times you can see people seeming to be conversing with someone in your Twitter stream and including the same hashtag each time. Simply click on that hashtag to see other Tweets using that hashtag to confirm if they’re in a Twitter Chat. If you want to join the chat, the use on the tools I mention below and you can instantly be transported in the middle of a chat.
The best ways to find out about Twitter Chats include the following options:
- This spreadsheet here (created by Robert Swanwick @SpkrInteractive) has over 500 of them listed: http://ow.ly/6CxeA
- For more information about the spreadsheet: http://bit.ly/ChatSched
- A great list of Twitter chats (that inspired the spreadsheet above): http://www.meryl.net/2009/05/06/list-of-twitter-chats/
- This site has a great listing sorted (and with a countdown clock) for the ones coming up: http://twebevent.com/
- Follow @twchat – a Twitter account dedicated to promoting Twitter Chats
What Tools to Use
Here are the two tools I like the most. There are other options that you can use (see below for a link to learn more).
To see a much broader description of potential tools click here (and read the discussion below the post as well): Twitter Chat Tools: http://swanthinks.wordpress.com/2009/08/13/the-twitter-chat-experience/
Twitter Chat Etiquette
Generally people want participants, not lurkers. A particular chat may have etiquette or rules laid out on a website – you can look for this in advance. Basically, try not to get too off-topic, respect people, follow the lead of the moderator and try not to reweet others’ messages too much (as that causes more repeats and noise in the chat).
A great post about how to participate or run a chat is at the following site:
Want To See Some Examples?
Click these to see a past Twitter Chats using the tools above:
- http://www.tweetgrid.com/grid?l=1 - (for this one, to test it, type if a hashtag such as #expochat or #blogchat)
In the comments, let me know your experience with Twitter Chats and what other resources you’re aware of and I’ll add them in.
Tom’s on Twitter at -> @RtMixMktg