Twitter chats are pretty awesome things. Not only do you spend an hour out of your week talking to like minded people but you can also do it from the comfort of your own home and not have to deal with the social awkwardness of being face to face. I've run #pbloggers (Sunday's 9-10pm) for the past 2 years and have learnt a few things that I thought I would share.
- Download a programme such as Tweet Deck
The most daunting thing about a chat is trying to keep up with it. I know at the start I struggled. Until someone introduced me to Tweet Deck. The way it works is that you can have several columns open at once. I normally have the hashtag that is being used, my notifications (and Pbloggers notifications). This means I don't lose track of the chat as easily.
- Find out the chat topic
Normally each chats twitter page will tweet out what the topic is. You might find that it isn't something you are interested in or it may be something you know loads about. Don't be put off with a topic that you may be unsure about. You don't always have to chime in with answers. Sometimes just reading the tweets can be helpful enough!
- Schedule tweets if you aren't around
I know speaking from running #pbloggers that lots of people use the hour to highlight their tweets. At the end of the chat we always retweet posts and links to people's blogs. This is a great way of finding new content and getting yours out there. But if you know you won't make it for that week a quick scheduled tweet saying "Gutted I have to miss x chat but here is my blog"
- Don't forget the hashtag
One key thing to remember is that the chat is followed by everyone via the hashtag. If you miss that out of your tweet there is a high chance that no-one will see it. We normally have it saved to clipboard so we can paste it on the tweet or write it before our text!
- Have fun
A twitter chat shouldn't be there to stress you out, it should be there to have fun and interact with likeminded people. If you find some new blogs to follow then that's an amazing perk too. Don't feel downhearted if people aren't responding to you; the chat may be going too fast to find your tweets. I've made some great blogging friends through twitter chats and love hosting them too. There are so many different topics out there for different bloggers that there is sure to be something for you. If not then set one up yourself! And it's not just blogging, I love to take part in the book related twitter chats. It's amazing what you find when you start delving!