At a recent ASTD Chapter meeting, I was reminded of this fact during a conversation I had with a group of peers. I was asked where I learned about something and I casually replied “We discussed it during a recent #lrnchat”.
I received silence and a few puzzled looks in response. I added “It’s a regular Twitter chat for learning professionals”. Another moment of silence passed, broken finally by a peer who asked “What’s a twitter chat?” I could tell by the looks around the table that everyone else had a similar question percolating in their mind.
If you’ve ever wanted to know how a twitter chat works, or what tools you can use to participate in a Twitter Chat, then this post is geared towards you. If not, well, you’re here, so feel free to read it anyway.
WHAT IS A TWITTER CHAT?
Since they use Twitter, discussions consist of comments of up to 140 characters
Many chats are held on regularly scheduled dates and times
Chats utilize a dedicated hashtag, so that participants can easily locate and participate in the chat
Many chats are loosely moderated and have a set starting topic
There is no expectation that participants will review and respond to every single post in the discussion, especially in larger chats
- TweetChat automatically filters the Tweet stream, showing only the tweets containing the hashtag for the chat.
- TweetChat automatically refreshes every 5-10 seconds, keeping you up to date.
- TweetChat automatically adds the chat hashtag to all of your updates, ensuring you do not forget to do so yourself.
The one downside I find with TweetChat is that it’s performance is not consistent. There are times that the TweetChat feed seems delayed, which is a major barrier in a live chat. When TweetChat’s feed is performing well, I find it to be the best tool for live Twitter Chats.
You can set up a column in TweetDeck that shows only the tweets from the chat
You can simultaneously monitor a ‘mentions’ column that shows who has mentioned or reached out to you directly during the chat
You can easily clear out all messages you have already read, an excellent tool for chats you are participating in sporadically.
TweetDecks columns can be a little overwhelming at first, which is why I recommend starting with only a select few and expanding only after you are comfortable with it. Once you are, TweetDeck can be an invaluable tool for someone that participates in multiple social networks.