Her enthusiasm to dive right in to Social Media, and Twitter especially, prompted me to ask her to write a guest post for this blog. To help facilitate further learning, we settled on the topic of one of my favourite things: Twitter Chats. Accompanying this article is Nadia's SlideShare presentation that gives you some visual understanding of what she explains below. I encourage you to take a few minutes and check it out as well. Now, I'll pass the mic to Nadia...
Following users on Twitter is a fairly easy process. You enter a username and click the follow button. Following a Twitter chat should be just as simple right? Wrong! I discovered this only after joining my first twitter chat - #CSTD2012. I was eager to get involved in the discussion so I posted a tweet in response to a question. I was surprised to see how fast each tweet from other users in the chat filled the timeline.I was trying to keep up and frequently forgot to add the chat hashtag when making a comment. I was gaining a lot of new information but I still had so many questions and clearly so little time.
- How do I stay involved in the chat?
- How much can I tweet?
- How do I respond to comments?
- What other chats can I join?
With the help of a fellow tweeter - @JGoodTO - I have come to realize there are a few things to bear in mind when you join a Twitter chat:
1. Remember to hashtag - #! This may seem obvious but when you are trying to keep up with the topic it can be easily forgotten. This will result in your tweet being posted on your timeline and not in the chat. Tweetchat is a tool that automatically adds the hashtag to your tweets and can keep you up to speed and focused on one topic.
2. Keep your posts short and sweet. Given the pace of the discussion you are going to want your tweets to get right to the point. You can use your 140 character limit efficiently by using acronyms and shortening some of your words. Keep in mind the chat hashtag is included in your character count as well.It is also easier for other tweeters to retweet or quote your comments if they are brief.
3. Check your Mentions. You need to remember to check your ”mentions” to ensure you have not missed any opportunities to answer direct questions regarding your tweet or share ideas. Forgetting to do this could limit your chance of enhancing your discussion.
4. Explore the twitter-sphere. Join chats you are interested in and practise, practise, practise! Search Twitter, read other user tweets and click on the #hashtags they have added to their postings. You can also make up #hashtags and see what has been posted.
I have learned a lot from joining these chats. They have helped me collaborate with tweeters around the world to brainstorm and build resources, so get out there and enjoy your journey towards lifelong learning.