The feedback I’m getting about our #womenwritersnet chat suggests that a lot of the audience is new to Twitter chats. This is fantastic – we are thrilled to introduce people to a new way of making friends online and finding good books to read. There are some tips for getting the most out of a chat below or, if you’re a complete beginner who hasn’t used a social media management program yet, you might want to check out my beginner’s Hootsuite tutorial.
What Is a Twitter Chat?
Twitter chats are online networking events designed to help people interested in a specific topic meet others who are interested in that topic. When a hashtag starts to become popular, you’ll see all sorts of announcement tweets going up without too much conversation going on. Twitter chats are an antidote to this as everyone gets together at a set time to network virtually. This means you actually get to talk to people as opposed to sending tweets about your news—regardless of whether anyone is actively listening.
How It Works
Our #womenwritersnet chat will take place over an hour. We’ll be sending out a question for everyone to answer/discuss about every ten minutes. Each question is labeled Q1, Q2 and we ask that each answer be labeled A1, A2. Each answer needs to include #womenwritersnet as well.
How To Make Friends on a Twitter Chat
Send your own tweets out during the chat, but pay attention to what others are tweeting. When someone tweets about a book or author you love tweet to that person. Ask her a question if appropriate. If a conversation develops, keep talking even if you miss a little of the rest of the chat. After the chat make sure you follow everyone you talk to as well as everyone whose tweets you enjoy.
How To Follow a Twitter Chat
Twitter chats usually have a unique hashtag. If you don’t currently use a social media management program, you can use the search function at the top right of Twitter to find the conversation. Ours, of course, will be locatable with the hashtag #womenwritersnet. Make sure all your tweets use that hashtag or they will get lost in the Twittersphere.
However, to really get the most out of a busy chat, you should use a social media management program like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck. These programs allow you to filter tweets with searches on hashtags or specific accounts. This is what my Hootsuite layout looks like when I’m attending a chat. [Note this is an old photo: imagine you’re looking at a first stream for #womenwritersnet rather than #women_writers.]
There are streams for all the tweets going to the chat hashtag, mentions of my account and my own tweets. That way I can watch the conversation as a whole and keep track of any of my side conversations that develop.
Readers will get to hear about new books and authors they might like to read. Writers will get to meet other writers who have similar interests with regard to style, genre or politics. Everyone will get the chance to learn about their topic and when we do the practical publishing sessions, writers will also get to make important contacts that may help them locate future opportunities.
Personally, I think Twitter chats are a really fun way to meet people. As a virtual event, there are some obvious benefits: it’s free and you don’t have to leave the house. But Twitter chats also bring us into contact with people we would never have met if we stuck to face to face networking. I think our chat will mainly be made up of people in the UK and US but we could have attendees from all over the world.