Twitter chats are a lot like virtual parties where where everyone is invited to pop in, engage and network with interesting individuals you would never have met otherwise. Tweet chats are held based on a schedule created by a host who asks a list of questions within a certain period of time to generate conversation (kind of like ice-breakers). The best part of it all is that there’s a chat topic available for everyone ranging from traveling to technology to creative writing. However, if you’ve never participated before, the first time can be quite overwhelming. I had no clue on how to interject myself into conversations during my first time as the feed was constantly being updated. I couldn’t read as fast as people were tweeting. Slowly but surely though, I figured out a surefire to survive a Twitter chat.
Find your interest
You wouldn’t barge into a party if you didn’t think there were like-minded people inside, so neither should you for a Twitter chat. There are many sites that provide lists of chats such as this extensive google doc list, TweetReports, and ChatSalad that shows the different topic of chats, the hashtag used for the chat, the host and the schedule. After you find your interest, make sure to follow the host on Twitter to allow for easier access to follow along to questions they ask.
Monitor the conversations
Now that you’ve found the specific party you want to join, figure out when you want to arrive. Whether it be fashionably late or slightly early, just keep in mind that if it’s your first time it’d be ideal to go early to take in the atmosphere. No one wants to be the new kid that arrives to a party where everyone’s already gotten to know everyone else, so arrive before the set time to have a chance to introduce yourself. To listen or join into the conversation, these tools are quite helpful: TweetChat, TweetDeck, Hootsuite, Twubs. These tools generate a live-stream of newsfeed pertaining only the hashtag of the chat. Remember to include the specified hashtag in all your tweets to stay in the Twitter chat.
Finally, the host has started asking questions, if you don’t know the answer, don’t worry, you can simply sit back and listen in on the conversations. If you have an opinion, then feel free to answer it. Twitter questions are presented in this format “Q1: [question here] ”, so to answer that specific question, tweet back with “A1: [your answer here]”. As mentioned above, don’t forget to include the hashtag of the chat at the end of your tweet.
Narrow down to sub-conversations
There’s no possible way to interject into every single conversation that’s happening during a party, this is the same for Twitter chats. In a party, you may walk around and listen in to see what conversations interest you, you can also reciprocate that in a chat. After you’ve been monitoring the conversation, pick a few Twitter accounts whose tweets in response to either the questions or other Twitter accounts interest you. Engage with them in a polite and positive manner.
Remember that this is like a party! Everyone is there to have a great time to discuss their interests with like-minded people, so don’t forget to relax and have fun. Share and retweet other Twitter accounts when you agree with them. Challenge other opinions to engage in a friendly debate. Joke around, be personal, but remember, always be polite.
I hope you found this useful, best of luck on your Twitter chat adventures! Comment below on how you survive a Twitter chat!