Tweetchats 101 {Another Way to Waste Time on Twitter}

I wanted to get this up fast because Michelle Rafter is hosting her monthly freelance writers’ tweetchat at 10am this morning. This month we will discuss how writers are using Pinterest. Her chats are rich with ideas and inspiration. For those new to Tweetchats, here is a little Tweetchat 101.

For Twitter beginners, I shall start at the very beginning. Pros may want to skip down a bit. The first thing you will need is a Twitter account. Click over to Twitter and create an account. Fill in the “New to Twitter” box and follow the instructions. You now have a Twitter account.

So what the heck is a Tweetchat?

A tweetchat is (often) a planned conversation on Twitter using a predetermined hashtag to mark the tweets which are part of the conversation.

Hashtag?! Stop speaking in tongues!

If you go to your Twitter page and look at your friends tweets, some may use hashtags like #mywana or #writer to essentially tag that tweet’s topic. The ‘#‘ is the hash, and the following words are the tag. Very few of those hashtags are actually part of a Tweetchat.

Let’s put it all together.

Michelle’s tweetchat always uses the hashtag #wclw. Her chat is held on the last Wednesday of the month at 10am PST. If you want to join the Freelance Writers tweetchat:

  1. Go to Tweetchat, click on the black ‘sign in’ button and login with your Twitter account.
  2. Enter #wclw in the space way up at the top where it says ‘Enter hashtag to follow“.
  3. Now the game begins. Tweets will start to scroll down under you blank box.
    1. Use the empty white box to introduce yourself, answer questions, join the conversation…to tweet. :-)
    2. Click on the curvy arrow to reply.
    3. Click on the strait arrow to retweet.
    4. Click on the star to favorite.

A few quick notes: it can take several seconds for your tweet to appear in the chat. Sometimes the conversation gets moving at a fast clip; don’t worry about repeating something someone else said or anything like that. If you fear your friends will bore of watching your gazillion tweets, check out Muuter; or invite them to join. Play nice and don’t be afraid to dive in.

Tell me where to find more!

If you get hooked, I’ve found a couple of lists to feed your addiction. Here is a Tweetchat Wiki. And this is a Google Doc loaded with chats. Plan on an hour per chat. Some publish topic questions in advance, some have sponsors, and some even have prizes. :-)

 Ok. But why in the world should I join a Tweetchat?

If the chat is for others in your niche; to make connections, grab tips and catch up on new tools/apps. You may snag a writing gig, a chance to be reviewed or featured on another’s site. I always pick up a new thing to try or site to check out. The chats are very good for getting the ideas flowing too.

If the chat is for your ideal customers; it’s a great way to see what the buyers are looking for, get a little feedback, gain brand recognition by sponsoring the chat, and meet new readers. Be careful here, a seller lurking on chats meant for ‘your customer’ is okay, getting pushy and all salesy won’t win you any brownie points.

What next?

You could host your own Tweetchat. Invite your readers to chat. Create a hashtag to tag tweets about your work.

Your turn, what Twitter tip works for you?

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