It never fails. During seemingly every Twitter chat in which I participate, someone comments about how difficult it is to “keep up” with the fast pace of the posts.
I admit that participating in online chats can be a dizzying at first, but the information you learn and the relationships you build make them worth a bit of head spinning.
You do learn to keep up with the chats, but here are my 10 Tips for Participating in Dizzying Twitter Chats for those of you who are having a difficult time adjusting to the pace.
1. Find the chat
Chats typically are identified by a hashtag (#name) and occur at a scheduled time each week. A few of my favorites are #blogchat (8 p.m. CST Sundays), #bufferchat (11 a.m. CST Wednesdays) and #muckedup (7 p.m. CST Tuesdays), although I honestly could name a chat or two I enjoy every day of the week. Not sure about chats you like or when they’re scheduled? Just search “chat” and your industry topic. You’ll find more chats than you have time to attend.
2. Follow the host
This is a good way to remind yourself that the chat is happening and a good place to “ground” the chat once it gets started.
3. Understand the rules
The chat host typically will remind you of the rules and the chat’s topic about an hour to 30 minutes before it begins. You also many times can find them on websites linked to the chat host’s page. Be a good chatter and follow the rules.
4. Introduce yourself
One of the best things about participating in Twitter chats is meeting people with the same interests as yours. When it’s time to introduce yourself, give your name, a short description of your blog and a link to your URL. Sometimes the host will ask you to address a specific topic in your greeting. Please follow this format if asked.
5. Use the hashtag
Put the chat’s hashtag at the end of every post or response you send during the chat. This helps others get involved in the conversation or answer your questions. If you don’t do this, no one will realize you’re attempting to participate.
6. Pick a Twitter client
How you follow chats is a matter of personal preference. I often participate in Twitter chats from my phone, which most people think is a bit crazy. But, honestly, I can peck out text-style tweets pretty quickly and I like to join chats from wherever I am when they begin.
I often use regular Twitter when I chat from my iPhone. I simply click on the hashtag in the first post that contains it. I just keep reading from there. If I lose track, I find the most recent post with the hashtag and click it again.
Tweetbot is another app I use to follow Twitter chats. It allows you to save hashtags that you use regularly and automatically fills them in while you chat.
On my physical computer, I use Twitter or Hootsuite for chats.
7. Don’t forget to check your mentions (@)
Your mentions are where people will ask you questions or answer yours. You should have conversations with them because this engagement is what makes a chat a chat. In between the conversation, click back on the chat’s hashtag to catch up the best you can.
8. It’s ok to miss things
You won’t read every tweet during a chat. Don’t worry about it. Not all tweets are meant for you or are beneficial to you. Just keep up the best you can and get the most out of your experience.
9. Don’t forget follows
After the chat ends, don’t forget to go back and follow those whose information really helped you or who share your interests. You may even want to reach out then and thank them for their insight during the chat. If you follow them, they probably will return the favor, helping you build your network.
10. Read the transcript
Most chat hosts will post a transcript at the end of the chat. Transcripts are a great way to read through what you may have missed because you were conversing with other chatters.
My best advice about Twitter chats may be just to jump in and participate. Don’t spend time lurking on the chat. You wouldn’t stand around and just listen to people talk without participating. If you did, you would get bored and move on quickly. Just try it! You’ll quickly adjust to the pace.
Ready to chat? Let’s do this!