How to Run a Successful Twitter Chat

by Meryl Evans | Category: Blogging, Meryl's Notes Blog, Tech 7 comments

I love participating in Twitter chats. These bring together intelligent individuals with a common interest yet each one adds something unique to the conversation. I’ve already covered how to join Twitter chats. This post looks at the process of participating in the chat.

#journchat set many of the standards that other chats have adopted. While official standards don’t exist, it becomes clear what works and what doesn’t work after you participate in enough chats. These guidelines capture the practices that lead to productive and fun chats.

  1. Let participants know how to submit questions: Some moderators ask for questions before the chat, during the chat or both. Different moderators have different submission preferences. It helps to receive questions in private rather than during the chat because people might start answering.
  2. Announce topic before chat: Most Twitter chats have a topic for the conversation. This keeps everyone on the same page. Tweet the topic before the chat so everyone knows.
  3. Announce guests before chat: Guests add to the chat by sharing their expertise. Letting participants know about the guest allows them to watch for them and follow them. Some twitter apps like Tweetchat let you enter a Twitter ID to highlight that person’s tweets.
  4. Tweet chat reminder: People get busy and forget. It’s OK to tweet reminders along with the topic and guest ID. It helps grow your list, too.
  5. Begin chat with rules: New chatters join, experienced chatters forget. It keeps everyone on same page.
  6. Identify who chat targets: #Editorchat, for example, is for editors and those who work with them. It doesn’t mean you can’t join if you don’t fit, you can observe.
  7. Start with introductions: Moderator can encourage specific information such as “Tell us who you are and what you do.”
  8. Stay on topic: Of course, it’s OK to laugh and make a joke about a comment. In fact, Timberry said, “A wise competitor once said: I don’t care if you stand beside me on the pier fishing. There are plenty of fish.” adarowski followed up with, “You didn’t push him, did you? :)” Gave us all a big laugh.
  9. Play nice: Accept it’s OK to have a difference of opinion, just be nice and courteous about it. If we all agreed all the time, it’d be a boring conversation.
  10. Listen: Moderators and guests take the lead. We all have something to contribute. Listening ensures you stay on track and avoid dominating the conversation.
  11. Block spammers: Several spammers invaded Twitter chats. Everyone blocked them and stopped it. While this rule could say “Don’t spam,” generally the spammers aren’t really part of the conversation.
  12. Begin questions and answers with Q1, Q2, etc.: This helps people connect the answer with the question. I admit it — I forgot a couple of times.
  13. Add the chat name to tweet: If you use Tweetchat or Tweetgrid, it will automatically add it for you. Otherwise, add the name with # or else the group will miss your comment.
  14. Watch the pitching and promoting: Several chats ask to save the pitches for the last five minutes of the conversation.
  15. Take unrelated tweets out of chat: Go to the Twitter browser or DM the person. It’s hard enough to follow a chat without having irrelevant and personal comments cluttering the stream.
  16. Warn friends: Some people don’t like it when their twitter stream fills up with a bunch of tweets from a person participating in a chat. Many folks enter a chat saying, “About to join chat. You might want to put me on” Better yet, create a separate ID for chats. Put your main Twitter ID in your chat profile.

What else works or doesn’t work when it comes to chatting through twitter?

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  • Posted by CathyWebSavvyPR on June 24th, 2009, 2:52 PM

    Meryl, It’s been a pleasure to interact with you on Twitter and on our #SmallBizChat Weds. 8-9 ET.
    This is a great post that I will tweet out to our peeps. Good ideas.

    In addition to blocking a spammer, another quick way is to report him/her to @spam on twitter. I suggest that everyone follow the spam account before they need it. @Spam follows back. Then you can do a silent spam request. From regular update/tweet window type “d spam @spamersname they are spam ” and add anything that helps proove it.

    This sends a direct message to the spam account, without having to go into your direct messages tab. (BTW, you can use this “d spam” to send any direct message to anyone that you mutually follow each other.)

  • Posted by Meryl on June 25th, 2009, 8:19 AM

    Cathy, thanks for posting the @spam info. I am sure many will appreciate the help!

  • Posted by Mike D. Merrill on June 25th, 2009, 1:07 PM

    Thanks for compiling. I think TweetChat is a must have to follow these conversations and use it regularly.

  • Posted by John Sternal on June 28th, 2009, 11:11 PM

    Meryl, thanks for a great blog post. In addition to, we like to use, which allows you to participate in the chat, monitor your Twitter account and stay informed with updates from the chat host (so you always know which question you’re on). It works great for our #smbiz small business chat. Looking forward to seeing you at the next one this Tuesday!
    .-= John Sternal’s blog …Dos & Donts Of Twitter – #smbiz Chat Recap =-.

  • Posted by Meryl on July 1st, 2009, 7:09 AM

    @Mike, agreed! It’s my chat app of choice.

    @John, thanks for running #smbiz. I enjoy the chat. Didn’t know about /party. Appreciate the link.

  • Posted by Twitter Trackbacks for Guidelines for Twitter Chats | [] on on August 29th, 2009, 1:18 AM

    […] Guidelines for Twitter Chats | – view page – cached Content on writing, tech, business, marketing, web design., Image credit Flávio TakemotoI love participating in Twitter chats. These bring together intelligent individuals with a common interest yet each one adds — From the page […]

  • Posted by The Future of Education: A Twitter Chat #apf #futrchat on April 25th, 2012, 3:10 AM

    […] For those who haven’t participated in tweetchats before, here are a couple of how-to’s by Content Maven (pt 1  and 2 ). […]

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