One of the new things we have tried out recently are twitter chats. The hashtags we have used so far are #familytrav and #chupacabra. We’ll be doing our next Twitter chat with author Bruce Hunt, @BruceHuntImages, on March 16th at 12 noon EST.
Bruce kindly pointed out that a lot of people might not have participated in a Twitter chat and might not know how to. I certainly should have considered this more before I started one. I sort of winged it after taking a look at some chats done by others–so I learned on the fly by trying it out. I will now reveal myself as a dork–but it was exhilarating to get responses and questions and helpful tips from others. Sometimes you feel like you are talking to yourself on Twitter! I think this 3rd chat will be even better…mainly because I am getting better at it. Then I can have my first two guinea pigs (@FLGhostDoc and @AlissonClark) back for another chat!
I took a look on the Internet and found several great resources on chats. I’ll list them at the end. So far I’ve used TweetDeck for the chats. It’s been great because you can load up search columns with the hashtag name and the name of the person you are interviewing and keep track of everything really easily. I’ve found that it has been a little confusing with all the @’s and #’s in the past though. I think that maybe it works best when only I do the @name and everyone else does the #hashtag only. It gives you more characters to talk with and simplifies things a lot. Then if you are responding to someone specifically in the chat you can save the @name just for them. At least that is what I think I will do this next time.
So basically I’ve rambled around to this procedure for a Twitter chat that I think works well:
1) Start following us at @PineapplePress and the person we are interviewing’s @name. That way you can see all future #hashtag mentions too in case the chat continues in the future.
2) Sign up for Tweetdeck or something similar so you can set up a search for the #hashtag. (Recommendations on software more than welcome!) Then read up on how to get the most out of the searches your software can do for hashtags and people’s names, etc…
3) When the time comes for the chat start asking questions and saying things with the #hashtag in them so we can see them. If you want to say something specifically to me then use @PineapplePress (and the same goes for the participant).
4) Then you have to wait a while. There’s a time delay sometimes as we think of something to say or the software updates tweets. Be ready for time lags and repeated questions sometimes–it’s all good though. You’ll get your answer eventually. Don’t feel bad if we miss a question–sometimes it happens. Just retweet! We aren’t ignoring you.
5) Feel free to add in relevant tips or comments. I learned something from each of our chats from participants. It doesn’t have to be all questions.
6) Once the chat is over–feel free to keep on talking with us! We want to hear from you. Then give me some suggestions for other chats you want to see happen. I’ll see what I can do. If it’s about Florida then I’m sure I can find someone to discuss it.
Here are those links I mentioned: