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How to Run a Successful Twitter Chat
by Meryl Evans
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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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Begin chat with rules: New chatters join, experienced chatters forget. It keeps everyone on same page.
- 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.
- Start with introductions: Moderator can encourage specific information such as “Tell us who you are and what you do.”
- 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.
- 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.
- Listen: Moderators and guests take the lead. We all have something to contribute. Listening ensures you stay on track and avoid dominating the conversation.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Watch the pitching and promoting: Several chats ask to save the pitches for the last five minutes of the conversation.
- 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.
- 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 www.twittersnooze.com.” 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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