by Marvin McTaw
What’s In This Article?
A robust community exists for event professionals on Twitter. Even if you aren’t a big Twitter user you will benefit from listening or participating in Twitter Chats (a.k.a. Twitter Talks). Twitter Chats will help you to discover thought leaders, find solutions to common problems and interact with other industry members.
This post will provide step-by-step directions and provide guidelines to help you benefit from and experience the excitement of Twitter Chats.
There are several regularly scheduled chats that exist for conference, festival, meeting & other event professionals. Some of my personal favorites are:
There is a Google spreadsheet documenting Twitter chat schedules that you can find here. Please be very careful interacting with this document as it is an open, wiki-style document that anyone can edit. Any additions, changes or deletions you make will be saved to the document.
Twitter chats require the use of a hashtag and keyword (e.g. #keyword). One of the best ways I’ve found to automatically attach the relavant hashtagged term and block out all other Twitter randomness is with TweetChat.com. TweetChat is free and simple to use. Sign in with your twitter account, enter the relevant keyword (e.g. eventprofs) and you’re ready to begin.
The most important person in any Twitter chat is the moderator. They are responsible for managing the community which typically includes, but is not limited to,
Suggestion: Feature The Moderator
It’s usually much easier to follow the discussion when you highlight the moderator in your user settings. You can do this buy using user controls in TweetChat. To do this
Twitter chats can involve very active messaging by participants. This can cause you to very quickly pollute your followers’ timelines. This usually results in them un-following you. To prevent spamming your followers, you should always begin your messages with an “@username” where the “username” is the moderator’s or specific respondent’s twitter user name. These messages will not appear in all of your followers’ timelines and are only visible to users who also follow the referenced user’s account.
The moderator will usually begin the chat by asking everyone who is there for the chat to introduce themselves. Even if you only plan on listening, you should introduce yourself to let others know you are there.
After introductions, the moderator will usually begin by asking a question. The questions usually follow a numerical format: Q1, Q2, Q3…etc. You should always respond in similar fashion (i.e. A1, A2, A3…) when responding to a question. This will help others to understand what you’re referring to.
Users may say something that you wish to respond to during the Twitter chat. To engage the user, you should @username reply them in the chat room to respond to them. This will give that user a special notification. It also makes it easier to follow that “branch” of the conversation.
Rule: Re-tweet With Caution
You may often feel compelled to re-tweet something a user has said. I generally do not recommend doing this because most of your followers will have no context for what you are retweeting. It will also be near to impossible for them to figure it out later on. Also, many people who participate in Twitter chats filter out re-tweets.
I recommend modifying your re-tweets. Remove the “RT ” [space intentionally included] so that your messages start with an “@username” and adding a “+1”. This will prevent polluting your followers’ timelines and let the person know you agree with them or want to echo their sentiments.
Rule: Provide A Reference
The default delay in TweetChat is ten (10) seconds. The minimum delay between a response and it appearing in the chat room is five (5) seconds. A lot can happen in five seconds within the chatroom. Help others know what you’re talking about by responding to the tweet in question and including a frame of reference. You can easily accomplish this by including a “re: Topic” at the start or end of your tweet.
Rule: Be Authentic
Twitter chats are not professional presentations or member meetings. They are colloquial, informal gatherings of people interested in a topic. You should always be respectful of others but do not mince your words or talk in superflous, vague language. Try and be as specific and direct as possible so users don’t have to read three or four tweets to understand your points.
Rule: Be Succinct
If your points do require multiple tweets, let users know by including “cont’d…” at the end of the first tweet and beginning the following tweet with “…cont’d”. This will help users to connect your Tweets to fully understand your points.
Chat moderators have a difficult and often times, thankless job. Please be sure to thank them before leaving the chat room.
Some moderators will catalogue the Twitter chats using wikis or tools like Storify. When these are released the moderator will usually publicize it’s release on Twitter. You should always take a look to make sure nothing you said is mis-quoted or taken completely out of context.
You will meet incredible people by participating in Twitter chats. You should either follow these users or add them to a list.
Another great way to give back to the community is to help promote the chats you find interesting. You can do this by promoting the chats on your various social networks or sharing announcements that are relevant to the community.
Do you participate in any Twitter chats? What are your favorite Twitter chats? What is your favorite thing about Twitter chats? What do you wish was different about them? Are there any other services you use for Twitter chats?