Friday, September 18, 2015

How to host a Twitter chat

A twitter chat can be a great way to keep the conversation going with others (whether near or far), get feedback and guidance, and connect people around a common interest –whether it is school related or not. 

Hosting a twitter chat is a fun and easy!  Follow these steps to find out how...

1.           If you haven’t already, participate in a twitter chat before you host
If you have never participated, it’s a good idea for you to get an idea of what goes on during a twitter chat.  MNPS library twitter chat is the first Tuesday of the month with the hashtag #mnpslibhack. Edchat is every Tuesday at 6 PM Central time using the hashtag #edchat.

2.           Pick a hashtag
You need a unique hashtag – and this can be tough, because there are a lot of hashtags in use!  Brainstorm some ideas, go to twitter, and search for your chosen hashtag to see if it’s a good choice.  If a group of people is already using the hashtag, it’s not a good choice. In general, the shorter the hashtag, the better! Also, try to avoid symbols – make your hashtag super easy to type!

3.           Pick a day and time
You’ll never satisfy everyone, but get a consensus (I like to use http://doodle.com/ to get ideas from participants for a good day and time). Once you pick a time and day, stick with it, moving it only for a special situation (a holiday, for example)

4.           Figure out what you are going to discuss
Some people crowdsource topics, or perhaps you and the other people running the twitter chat already have topics in mind.  Keep them timely and relevant. Once you pick a topic, Pick out around 6-10 questions concerning that topic to discuss.  That usually takes about an hour, so if you wanted a shorter conversation, pick 3-7.

5.           Promote the heck out of your twitter chat
Now is not the time to be shy!  Let everyone know when your twitter chat is going to be, the hashtag, and the topic for this week/month/etc. Use facebook, email, and, of course, twitter to promote your twitter chat! I use hootsuite to post to multiple sources at the same time….check it out at https://hootsuite.com/

6.           During the twitter chat, keep up with the tweets
I use hootsuite (see #5) during a twitter chat to keep up with the tweets, simply by adding a column for the hashtag I’m using.  I also monitor the flow of questions, and I’m looking for a “slowing down” to decide when to post my next question.  I have the question ready to tweet out on my computer for when I notice it’s time to post the next question.

7.           Archive your twitter chat
Twitter chats are learning opportunities all around, and participants (and non-participants) might want to check out what was said.  I use storify (https://storify.com/) to archive my tweets for the twitter chat, and then I let people know where to find the archives (using hootsuite to post to multiple social media outlets at once).

Hosting a twitter chat is a lot of fun.  I always come away energized and excited about the ideas that are discussed. I hope you’ll consider hosting a twitter chat of your own!

Blogger-
A.Smithfield
MNPS Librarian
@asmithfield


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