Twitter Chats 101

Twitter chats are live discussions that take place on Twitter at a predetermined time, about a predetermined topic. Tweets related to the discussion include a special chat hashtag (ours is #BehavioralMedChat). Dr. Pagoto will tweet questions (designated with Q1, Q2…) to prompt responses from participants (using A1, A2…) and encourage interaction among the group. Chats last one hour. Anyone is welcome to participate by responding to chat questions and asking the guest questions.

Before for the Chat

  • Mark your calendar for the chat date and time.
  • Try out a free tool like TweetChat or TweetDeck to more easily follow the chat hashtag and respond quickly (TweetChat, for instance, will add the chat hashtag to all of your tweets automatically).
  • Promote the chat in tweets to your followers, and send a “high volume” warning before the chat starts.
  • If the fast pace of chats overwhelms you, feel free to peruse the questions and prepare brief responses in advance.

During the Chat

  • Always include #BehavioralMedChat in your tweets.
  • Stay on topic.
  • Share your knowledge about the topic, tweet relevant research papers, etc. – but don’t use the chat as a sales opportunity.
  • Don’t be afraid to contribute! The host, guest, and participants will be glad to hear from you.
  • It’s OK to dip in and out of a Twitter chat. Drop by for the time you have and don’t feel guilty if you can’t stay for the whole thing.
  • When answering a specific question or comment from another participant, use Twitter handles to identify who you’re speaking to in order to avoid confusion. Include a “.” in front of an @username if you want your tweet to show up in all feeds. Reply directly (with no “.”) for targeted conversations with one or two people.

After the Chat

  • Your fellow tweeters may retweet your words of wisdom, offer compliments, or ask follow-up questions, so make sure to reply accordingly.
  • Introduce yourself to new followers and follow them back.
  • Check back here to get the link to the chat transcript. Share it with your followers!

Special thanks to this site and this one for the tips.