I feel sort of silly volunteering myself to tell you all how to Twitter chat. If you knew me in real life you would really find this hilarious! In a crowd, I'm very quiet. And what's more crowded then Twitter? And Twitter often makes me feel like I'm talking to myself (there are those days of exception were I think... wow! Twitter is the coolest place ever!) but then again there are those times, like during Bloggiesta or when I'm hosting a read along, or when I'm participating in some other event like Bout of Books or ArmchairBEA or the Dewey's Readathon where talking on Twitter is fun and easy! It becomes the hub of everything that's going on.
And then I wonder what we ever did without it!
So many times, though, when I host a chat for Bloggiesta, there are always many new-to-Twitter bloggers or new-to-chatting bloggers who are wondering what they've gotten themselves into! And if I could peer into the computer I could see their eyes big and huge, glazing over in confusion and pretty soon their hands being thrown up in the air!
So I'd love to explain how I see this all working.
But before we talk about chatting on Twitter, let's talk about hashtags. I'm sure you've all seen this explained other places, but just in case, here's the scoop. A hashtag (or the pound or number key #) is a way for Twitter to filter the things everyone is talking about. They are used many ways. There are some very established ones (#amwriting comes to mind) where people use it to connect with other Twitter users writing/talking/thinking about the same thing. Other times, people make up silly ones, that go viral for a day and wow, you can find some pretty funny things! Let me see what's trending today.... #DitchYourDatein5Words. Hmmm... okay.
Twitter is especially fun during a big event. . . like a few weeks ago during the Oscars. If you clicked on the hashtag #Oscars2015 (or whatever it was I forgot now) then you could see everyone's reaction to what was going down on the TV in real time. It's a blast. (This only works with TV if everyone is watching at the same time. Most of the time we are all on different TV times, so then you have to beware spoilers if you do this!)
So, Twitter chatting is the very same thing, only we set a time where all meet and chat together with the purpose of having actual conversations. Remember: You have to use the hashtag that's been agreed on (in our case it's #Bloggiesta) or else the people in the chat won't see what you're saying! This is because during the chat we filter everything else that's going on on Twitter so we only see that one hashtag. We do this using various different methods. Some of the most common ways:
- Twitter itself! You can search for a hashtag and then click on it. Now you'll only see what people using that tag are saying. (Click here and you'll only see stuff about #Bloggiesta.)
- Tweedeck, which is an app where you can create many customized columns to see different things going on on Twitter at the same time
- Hootsuite is very similar to Tweetdeck in that you set up all sorts of columns with the hashtags you want to follow.
- Tweetchat.com where you can log in using your Twitter name, plug in a hashtag and then only see that conversation.
- Twubs.com, same sort of set up as Tweetchat but seems to have less bugs lately.
I'm sure there are many more, but these are the main ones that I'm familiar with and the ones that I see most people using. I've become a big fan of Twubs for chatting. It's easy, you don't have to set anything up, and it seems to refresh pretty fast, which you need it to do for chats!
The cool thing about these (except for using Twitter itself and now I think bout it, it actually might do this too!) is that they will plug in the hashtag for you, for the particular chat you are in at the time. Which is great because remember what I said about forgetting the hashtag? If you do, we won't see you!!! And it's a pain to type that over and over especially because the chats move so so fast, you can barely keep up with them as it is.
Another thing most official chats are doing these days is using the Q and A format. The person hosting will ask a question using Q1 and Q2 and so on. This helps the question to stand out in all the stuff that's going on. Then everyone responds using A1 and A2 and so on. It just helps the chat be somewhat more organized.
Other than that, there's really nothing to it! You just jump in and talk to people, respond to the questions, reply, retweet and favorite as you desire!
So my Bloggiesta challenge to you is this:
- join Twitter! If you've been on the fence about this move, just do it. Do it now! And then come and chat with us.
- if you've never participated in a chat, now's your chance. We have SEVEN Bloggiesta chats happening this week! SEVEN! Try it, you'll like!
- if you have chatted before, but haven't used one of the above platforms, pick one and give it a shot. Let me know what you think!
- if you are expert at chatting, then be sure to join us for as many chats this week as you can to help us keep the convo going. Also, you can volunteer to host one for next time!
- comment here with your experiences with any of these challenges. If you're feeling shy on Twitter, let me know. I'll follow you and talk you through things!
Here's the Twitter chat schedule for the upcoming week. We have themed days planned, but of course, we'll pretty much talk about anything:
- Monday March 23rd at 4:00 p.m. Eastern: PEOPLE: Giving and Getting Comments and Followers
- Tuesday March 24th 7 p.m. Eastern: E-PRESENCE: Social Media Savvy
- Wednesday March 25th at 12 p.m. noon Eastern:DISPLAY: Side Bars and Page Layout
- Thursday March 26th at 9 p.m. Eastern: REVIEWS and Other Content Ideas (guest hosted by Jessica from The Bluestocking Society)
- Friday March 27th at 9 p.m. Eastern: ORGANIZE: No Stress Allowed (guest hosted by Amanda from On a Book Bender)
- Saturday March 28th at 2:00 p.m. Eastern: Books and Reading (guest hosted by Rachel Noel from Purple Owl Reviews)
- Sunday March 29th at 3 p.m. Eastern: Feedback and Free for All
Also, I thought it would be fun to list past challenges on Twitter, especially if you are thinking about taking the plunge and joining it for the first time.
And while this is not a past Bloggiesta challenge, it's another tutorial from Buffer Social about chatting on Twitter that you might find helpful (thanks to Amanda for the heads up on this one!).
Have fun and see you at the chats!
Have fun and see you at the chats!