Today I am going to share with you a simple step by step guide on how to join a Twitter chat.
About 4 years ago I started using Twitter for professional learning and since then I have never looked back. It is incredible and has opened up many doors along the way. It is my go-to professional learning platform that I literally learn something new from each and every day.
Just over 3 years ago, I connected with Laura Hill and #whatisschool was born – our ‘little’ chat baby that we love and cherish. That little baby has grown into one of the largest Educational Twitter Chats in the world and its journey has been outstanding.
I often get asked how to join a Twitter chat. The main reason for this is because joining a chat is often daunting, there are rules and protocols in place that are often unknown and you are joining a world that is different to what you are used to.
Here are 6 steps to joining your first twitter chat:
- Create an Account
Sign up and create a Twitter account (click here for a step by step guide for educators), follow some inspirational educators (click here for my favorites) and be ready to share and learn with other like-minded educators from all over the world.
- Understand what a Twitter Chat is and how it works.A Twitter Chat is a public Twitter conversation around one unique hashtag. This hashtag allows you to follow the discussion and participate in it. Twitter chats are usually recurring and on specific topics to regularly connect people with these interests. It provides you with a chance to network and grow your PLN (Professional Learning Network) through shared interests, in our case, this is EDUCATION while learning (I often learn more in 1 hour than I do in week-long Staff Development sessions).
Find a Twitter chat that suits you
My advice is to choose 1-2 chats that peak your interest and focus on those until you develop an understanding and a confidence of how to make it work for you. There are many ways to find Twitter chats, which are fairly regular. The easiest way to find them is here on this huge spreadsheet which includes hundreds of Twitter chats. This list was developed by @thomascmurray @cevans5095 @cybraryman1 and updated by @jrochelle and @conniehamilton. A special thank you to them for providing such a great resource.
Choose a third party application to tweet on
Tools like TweetDeck, Hootsuite, TweetChat and Participate all provide ways to live chat and to organize your twitter account by hashtag so you can more easily follow along and pause a fast-paced chat to go at your speed!
My personal favorites are TweetDeck and Participate. For TweetDeck, TweetChat, and Hootsuite, users must first set up an account on the third party site and grant access to the user’s Twitter account. Once linked, these free tools provide an easy and efficient way to take part in a chat.
Tweetdeck is owned by Twitter and integrates seamlessly with your Twitter account as a login. This is a beautiful, simple way to keep on track with a Twitter chat. Here is an easy step-by-step guide to setting up a TweetDeck for use and here is a great video for using TweetDeck for Twitter Chats.
Always use the Hashtag and Follow the Basic Rules
Tweeting is pretty simple and so is joining a Twitter chat. The basics of joining a chat are:
- Use the chats Hashtag in every tweet you send so others can follow along. Remember a hashtag is a search tool
- Always introduce yourself into the chat – it is nice to tell everyone who you are, what your role is and where you are from. It is also nice to say hello to everyone else
- Most chats use Q/A style chat format. That means that the moderator tweets a question starting with Q1, Q2, Q3 and the participants of the chat tweet using A1, A2, A3 etc. to indicate your response to a specific question. It is a great way to organize ideas and responses
- Try to always think positively. When challenging someones tweets always think with a positive head. It is OK to challenge and disagree but always remember that emotions are almost impossible to read online so be aware of how you might come across.
- Always thank the moderators. Running a chat is no easy job. A lot of time and effort goes into organizing it. It is common courtesy to say thank you.
Here are some of the Top Tips as a reminder
For additional information check out this video as Monica Burns shares what a Twitter chat is, and how to find a chat you’re interested in via Cybraryman. Monica quickly explains what a Twitter hashtag looks like, how to view tweets on a particular hashtag, where to find education-related Twitter Chats, and how to participate in a Twitter chat.