Have you ever wondered what a tweet chat is? Or perhaps you wonder what the value of a tweet chat is? These are questions that come up quite often when I run my social media training sessions so I thought I would take a moment to write a basic introduction to the wonderful world of tweet chats.
What is a tweet chat
- A tweet chat is basically a chat or discussion on a topic that happens on Twitter using hashtag (specific to chat or general).
- These chats are organised at a set time and date and usually last 1 hour.
- They may be one-off events or occur on a regular basis.
- Tweet chats can be organised by anyone, but tend to be organised by a group or organisation.
- They are often moderated, either by the organiser or by a guest moderator. The discussion is stimulated by questions, and these are are normally preceded with Q1, Q2, Q3 etc.
- Participants then post their answer to the question, sometimes using A1, A2, A3 etc.
- As tweet chats are public anyone can join.
What is the value of tweet chats
Tweet chats are a great way to share ideas or experiences and can be a great way to learn or get insights. Pharmaceutical companies for example can get great insights into patient needs. Similarly patients can can tips and learn about resources from other patients. Another benefit of tweet chats is the opportunity to network with peers or people with similar or shared experiences. They also provide experts the opportunity to share expertise and build their thought leadership. Last but not least they can also be fantastic fun!
In fact I owe a great deal of my early career to tweet chats. Back in the day there was a regular tweet chat on Fridays about healthcare social media in Europe – #hcsmeu. It was here that I kick started a great deal of my learning but also developed a great network which remains to this day. I used to love these chats and the discussions were also scintillating and very engaging.
How to participate in a tweet chat
If you have never joined a tweet chat before it can be quite daunting at first. A good tweet chat will have very active discussion and can move very quickly. If you are new to this that can make it quite hard to follow. My advice is not to worry and just have a go! Here are some tips to get you started:
- Set up your tool – if you are using a tool like Hootsuite then set up a stream to follow the tweet chat #. If you are using Twitter then you can just do a search of the # and make sure you are looking at “latest” rather than “top”
- Refresh and go – as simple as that! Refresh your stream to see the latest tweets. Do not worry too much if you are still chatting about or answering Q1 if people are already on Q2 – if you have something valuable to add then just go for it.
- Use the # – perhaps the main thing to remember is to always use the tweet chat # in all your tweets – otherwise they will not show up in the chat. Some tweet chat hosts recommend replying to the question or using Q1 A1. Using A1 to answer question 1 is certainly helpful, particularly if people have already moved onto question 2.
- Twittiquette – at the start of the tweet chat feel free to introduce yourself. If it is your first chat feel free to say so – you will find people are very supportive. Always respect everyone on the tweet chat – it is meant to be a civil discussion on a topic. People can get quite passionate about topics but try to keep the tone positive and happy – life is too short (as is the tweet chat)! At the end of the chat if you enjoyed it then also say so.
If you are interested in joining a tweet chat you can search for #tweetchat on twitter or go to Symplur which provides a list of tweet chats. You are also welcome to join The Thyroid Trust’s tweet chat on May25th for #ThyroidTrustChat to chat about thyroid disease. For more information you can also have a look at an introduction presentation I put together for one of my training sessions. Finally do follow me on Twitter and if you are interested in running a twitter or tweet chat training session for your organisation contact me.