Last week I hosted my first Twitter Chat. It was a new experience for me. Several people joined the chat and shared their views and questions. In a fast and furious hour, we talked about The Clock Strikes Midnight–the theme, title, characters and the road to publication. We also talked about writing habits. I learned several things about conducing a Twitter Chat that I thought I would share.
We used the hashtag #scribechat. Some of my Twitter mates had trouble finding where to join the chat; others got in without difficulty. When promoting your chat, you need to promote the hashtag so people can find you.
That way you have the 140 character responses at the ready that you can copy and paste into your tweet. Remember to add the hashtag at the end of each tweet! Doing it in advance when there’s less time pressure really helps.
e.g. #scribechat. Otherwise the people attending the chat can’t see your answers. Keep reminding people during the chat to add the hashtag. It’s so easy to forget.
When you do, the tweet goes to that person’s notifications and not to the chat stream. I found it hard not to “reply” either using the reply option or the @ option. But, it’s best to post your reply as a new tweet with the hashtag.
For reasons unbeknownst to us, we had a lag between our questions and answers. Time moved at a snails pace while I waited for the next question. And, on the other end, my moderator felt the same with my responses. We have not discovered what caused this lag. We were texting one another in between. I’d suggest texting the question to your host, particularly if you get off script.
All the questions do not have to go to the host. The goal is to create a real “chat.”
I’m not sure that’s necessary, but it’s a nice precaution.
Otherwise you’ll get a lot of tweets that are not relevant to your chat. For example, I joined the #amwriting Twitter Chat. It was a mad house and hard to tell who the chatters were and who the people were who just added that hashtag to their posts. You’ll want a unique hashtag that belongs to you.
Probably. The next time, we will talk more about writing in general. Maybe some of the headaches we writers face. My hope is to conduct enough of these to create a nice engaged group of followers.
Anyone else have experience with Twitter Chats? What suggestions might you add?