Twitter Chat Made Easy: A How to Guide

how to twitter Every night there are several Twitter events that happen online, and you don’t even have to leave your house to participate. These events are different from a Tweet-Up, where people coordinate a live meet-up using Twitter to get together in person. Instead, a Twitter chat is where a group of people decide to virtually meet up on Twitter at a designated time period to discuss a given topic.

Twitter Chat Basics

Here’s the basic info you need to know about participating in a Twitter chat.

First thing’s first; you must be a Twitter user. If you aren’t a Twitter user, sign up at www.twitter.com. If you need help, read this helpful article on how to create your twitter account.

What is a Hastag?

Twitter chats use hashtags. A hashtag is a way to track a specific topic or event on Twitter. Hashtags begin with the hashmark (or pound) symbol (#) and incorporate a word or series of words with no spaces. Examples of hashtags are #bloggybootcamp, #SITSBooks, etc. In the case of our Twitter Chat, the hashtag is #SITS31DBBB. If you’d like to read more on hashtags you can check out my post Do You #Hashtag?

Other Twitter Chat Info

  • Twitter chats are scheduled on specific days and times.
  • Twitter chats are run by a moderator who keeps the conversation moving forward. During a typical chat, a moderator asks questions that the participants then answers.
  • Tweet chats thrive on conversation. In order to get the most from a chat, one must participate; this is not the time to be shy! However, please be respectful.

how to twitter chat

The Top 10 How To’s of Twitter Chatting

  1. The first thing to understand about a Twitter chat is that there is no special “chat” function on Twitter. Rather, participants have simply chosen to include the same hashtag in all of their tweets. And when that hashtag is isolated from everything else that’s being said on Twitter, you have a Twitter chat. You can choose to do the stand-by “just follow along with the hashtag” on Twitter, but you will probably get lost.  Instead, it’s best to use a Twitter Aggregator. Twitter Aggregators are programs that gather tweets mentioning a common hashtag and display them together to be read in real-time. Some options are:
    • TweetChat: This is a great tool for the beginners. It’s easiest to use, but it can be slow when it’s swamped with visitors. How-To: Go to TweetChat.com, click “sign in” and “allow” it to sync up with your Twitter account.  Enter a hashtag in the “#” box and click “go.”  This platform will automatically add the hashtag to the end of your tweets to ensure that your tweets are seen by other participants.
    • HootSuite: This is simple for those who are comfortable with Twitter. It requires you to sign up for an account, but it’s easy and beneficial to do so. HooteSuite allows you to keep track of multiple social media accounts at once.  How-To: Sign in, go to “Add Stream” and enter your hashtag in the Keyword tab. You will need to make sure you add your hashtag to each tweet as it is not automatically done on this platform.
    • TweetDeck: This one is similar to HootSuite, but it requires you to download and install software to your computer. The difference is really a matter of personal preference.  I use this option and love it! As with Hootsuite, you will need to add your hashtag to the end of your tweet.
    • TweetGrid: Again, similar to HootSuite and TweetDeck, but, I have heard it is a bit less reliable than the others. Like HootSuite, there’s no software required! Similar to TweetChat, your hashtag will automatically be added to your tweet.
  2. At the scheduled chat time, log into whatever Twitter program you are using with your Twitter name and password. Enter the hashtag at the top of the screen.
  3. This is an etiquette point: It is wise to let your followers know you will be participating in a chat, as your feed will be running pretty crazy if you are participating full force.
  4. When your chat begins, it is nice to say “hi” and introduce yourself.
  5. The moderator will start the chat by asking a question.
  6. When you answer questions, make sure you notate which question you are answering.
  7. Remember to add the chat hashtag to the end of your tweets if you are using a platform that does not automatically do this.
  8. Be yourself and speak up, that is what the conversation is for… so you can be heard!  Don’t be shy! With that said, the chat is about sharing your experiences, and not selling yourself or services.  Avoid spamming your fellow participants.
  9. A word to the wise: Things move very fast in Tweet Chat. If you would like to make a comment in response to someone’s tweet, make sure you use the @ symbol so that it puts your reply in the person’s mention area.  Otherwise, they might miss your response.
  10. Maybe there is a SITStah or two whose posts have touched your heart.  Or perhaps you are in the same niche or find a site interesting, insightful, or helpful.  When this happens, be sure to add these people to the list of Twitter users you follow. This is a great way to build your network and niche!

Happy Twitter Chatting!

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  13. Vp Ahmed says:

    Very nice tutorial

  14. I had no idea Twitter Chats existed. Am surprised they’re not called Twatters though : )

  15. I loved the last one and this week is sounding so fun. Thanks everyone.

  16. Great guide for the newbies AND not-so-newbies! Can’t wait for the twitter chat!
    Bernice

  17. I have bookmarked this page so that I can come back and digest it. Slowly. One tweet at a time. Thank you SO MUCH!!!

  18. You all are the dreamiest. That is all. :)

  19. Great tip! I had to do some serious Googling the first time I wanted to join a twitter chat because I was completely clueless. This is a great way to explain everything! :)

  20. Yes please include me. I really enjoyed the info as uaual. Thanks u do use tweetdeck.

  21. Loads of good tips – great blog post – I would love to join on the 11th but I am out all day doing wedding photography – but I would love to meet more people on my twitter – laurasidestreet

    Please stop by the blog if you have time, I always return comments

    Laura
    http://www.sidestreetstyle.com

  22. Great tutorial, wish I had read one like it back when I first started participating in twitter parties! I read a bunch of reviews and thought I’d go with HootSuite, but while in the process of signing up, I switched over to Tweetdeck and haven’t looked back. I love it! :>

  23. Hi Shelly! Thanks for the excellent tutorial.
    I actually participated in one of these yesterday. It is a great way to meet people, but I agree with what you guys are saying, you have to keep up! I also tried just to respond to one person at a time and use the “@” with their name, so at least there was a thread of conversation going in some direction.
    Any infertility bloggers out there can join this chat on Wednesdays #FertilitySupport 11am Eastern / 4pm UK time
    http://tweetchat.com/room/fertilitysupport
    this is run by Sarah Holland.
    I was on holiday this week, not sure if I could always do this!

    • Hi Heather,
      Using the @ sign is great also for following up and checking to see if you had any comments thrown your way while the chattering is going back and forth, it’s a good review tool! :)
      shelley

  24. Yup. I’ll do what Beth is doing – just dive in. Good luck everyone and see you there!

  25. Shelley,

    How do you manage to be so awesome all the time? I’m bookmarking this one, cause I’ve seen some folks in my stream on chats and wondered how they did it. I think I’m just going to have to dive in and try one just to get the hang of it.

    Thank you!

    Beth

  26. I love twitter!!! Thanks for the tutorial, got some hints that will help me a lot. Specially the Twitter Aggregation.

  27. I’ve been wondering how to do this and really appreciate the instructions. So, let me see if I’m right. Put the FULL hashtag at the end of any of my questions or answers to keep it in the stream? Right. How about, if I want to start my own Twitter Chat? Do I create a new hashtag name for it in my first Tweet? Or, is there a different place to go to get it started? Any help is appreciated.

    • Yes, Sharlene make sure that you put the full hastag at the end of whatever you are doing answering or asking during the Tweet Chat. A Tweet Chat is usually a scheduled time where a group of people get together to discuss a specific topic like we will be doing on Monday night for our #sits31dbbb wrap up! It really isn’t something you just start in conversation. Hope this helps! :)

  28. Thanks so much for this excellent and simple explanation. I’ve participated in two of the SITS Book discussions and the whole process still is a little bit mystifying to me.

  29. Thank you for the very easy tutorial!

  30. I participate sometimes in one particular chat and the first few times it went so fast it made my head spin! Okay, my head still spins:) One thing that has helped me a lot is to open two windows side-by-side and have the chat in one and my twitter account @me screen in the other. That way I can easily see if anyone tweets to me during the chat.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] a minute, what’s a Twitter chat? The SITs Girls have a great walk-through of the Twitter chat [...]

  2. [...] Twitter Chat Made Easy Filed Under: Social Media [...]

  3. [...] For a more detailed explanation of how to participate in a Twitter chat, you can read the SITSGirls Twitter Chat Made Easy: A How to Twitter Guide. [...]

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