This is just a post to kick things off here on Twitter Chat Help. I’m Cathy Larkin (on twitter @CathyWebSavvyPR & @ChatHelp) and I’ve been participating in Twitter chats and parties since shortly after they began in the early fall of 2008 when they first got started.
For more info on what a Twitter chat is – see further down in this post*.
When describing how to participate in a twitter chat, I think there are five ways to do so. Each way of being involved works for an individual, a non-profit or for a small business or brand.
- Listen & Learn
- Participate (ask or answer questions)
- Be a Guest host or Guest Expert
- Sponsor a Twitter Chat or Party
- Create or Host a Chat of your Very Own
For more details on these ways to get involved in chats, check out Twitter Chats – A Small Business Secret Weapon - Anita Campbell founder of @SmallBizTrends (SmallBizTrends.com) interviewed me August, 2010 on the topic of “Twitter Chats a Small Business Secret Weapon.” Click the link to listen to the podcast.
Other intro posts coming soon: Why Should I Consider Participating a Chat on Twitter, and 5 Ways to Participate in a Twitter Chat?
Here are the links to two different versions of the “big list of chats” – one is a blog post that notes most of the popular chats and what day/time they occur & who is the host by Twitter Chat pal @MerylKEvans: http://www.meryl.net/2009/05/06/list-of-twitter-chats/. The second is a larger list of chats – by @SpkrInteractive and it is in a Google spreadsheet – with lots of details on who, what, when & website links to more info on over 500 chats listed (http://bit.ly/chatlist). (Caveat – be aware that not all chats on the list are active, or update the info, so search for the #tag or tweet the host to check the details).
*What is a Twitter chat – People use a term preceded by the “#” sign (called a #Hashtag). That makes the word a hyperlink or clickable link. For example, the chat that I co-hosted with @SmallBizLady is #SmallBizChat. Anyone on Twitter who knows about this chat in advance, or who finds it in someoneelse’s tweet stream, can join in on a discussion about that topic. There’s also #Journchat, #BlogChat and hundreds of others.
Each chat of the currently more than 500+ active chats is run by one or more people, on a certain topic and usually meet at the same time – each week or specific times a month. Some of the Twitter Parties with giveaways don’t always follow a schedule, but often have a strong website & following to communicate about it. Each chat is run a bit differently. Some chats are very open – just a topic & a time, others have a guest expert (or more than one) and a set of questions, others take questions from the participants, while some do both.
You can click one of those #chats hashtags above and you’ll see the most recent tweets of those using that hashtag. Most of the chat hosts suggest using third-party twitter tools to participate in a chat – the most simple and popular is www.tweetchat.com (@Tweetchat), next, both easier and harder to get used to, is www.tweetgrid.com (@TweetGrid). Some people create a column for the #hashtag in their @tweetdeck or @Hootsuite program they already use. All of these are free programs (at the base level – some are completely free). The chat community is very supportive and I’d like to continue that trend here as well.
Here is a link to my Chat Tips post http://bit.ly/chattips1 on my main blog.
Here is a recent post on another Twitter Chat Pal @CASUDI, on how & why this business professional got started in participating in Twitter chats: http://www.esse-group.com/wordpress/social-media/how-i-make-the-most-of-online-chats/ – she’s also Guest hosted a chat or two!