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How Does a Twitter Chat Work?


So, you heard about one of our Twitter chats and RSVP'd? Excellent! Now, how in the world do these Twitter chats work? Follow this step-by-step guide, whether you're completely new to Twitter or have some basic experience.

First things first:

1) Sign up for a Twitter account.  Well that was obvious, no? If you are truly new to Twitter, you'll want to take a few minutes and learn what it's all about.  A Twitter chat happens to be a great learning experience, but please go over the 101 first!

2) Now, take a moment to understand the hashtag. It's simply an agreed upon-word or phrase which is used to organize a Twitter conversation around a topic. Lets say you want to see what's happening on corporate social responsibility. By simply searching #CSR, you can see the running conversations around that topic. There are tweets being shared on CSR 24/7, but by using the hashtag you can drop in any time and find something interesting!

3) What we do during a Twitter chat is basically the same thing, except that we've agreed with a few other organizations to make a coordinated effort to converse on a particular topic, at a particular time, using a specified hashtag. This makes things nice and organized.

Now what? Here's what to do when it's time for the 3p Twitter Chat to begin:

4) About 10 minutes before the chat is scheduled to begin, log into Twitter and search for the designated hashtag.

5) Pay attention to tweets coming from the moderator (in our case @TriplePundit) for any last minute instructions.

6) Our chats always begin with approximately 30 minutes of structured interview between TriplePundit and the panelist(s). We will begin by asking the subject some questions using this format:

@triplepundit: "Q1: How is your day going? #hashtag" @panelist: "A1: Well, my day is going great! #hashtag"

Notice that each question is numbered "Q1, Q2, etc..." and each answer corresponds with: "A1, A2, etc..." Notice that everything must contain the conversation's #hashtag.

7) If you'd like to say something, just tweet it with the hashtag! If you want to refer to a question or answer, just include "Qx" or Ax" where "x" is the number of the question or answer.

8) The first half-hour of the Twitter Chat is a dedicated Q/A with our guests, and the second half-hour is dedicated to answering audience questions. TriplePundit will note of your questions and organize them for the subject, then (if time allows), re-tweet them with a number. So, the panelist may answer your question in Q11, Q15, Q19, or after the discussion is concluded.

9) We welcome you to ask questions to panelists at any point, and to directly address other people in the chat (simply include their twitter handle and the hashtag in your tweet).

10) Bonus Points: Including photos, links to articles, YouTube clips, or infographics enriches the conversation across the board. Join in and share your thoughts!

Still confused? Don't worry, you have to try it a few times before it all sinks in.  We're here to help! Tweet us at @TriplePundit.

Image: Pexels

Marissa Rosen headshotMarissa Rosen

Marissa is the Owner of Climate Social, LLC. She holds a bachelor's degree in communications from Mizzou and a master's in environmental studies from UPenn. 

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