On Twitter Chats

There are a lot of Twitter chats out there. While it is great to chat, it is important to, as Pillar 2 of Character Counts! Six Pillars of Character teaches us, respect each other.

What follows are some best practices for moderators and participants to keep in mind with Twitter chats.

For Moderators
1. Promote your chat before, during and after your chat. Include the date, time and hashtag of your chat as well as topics and guests. And ask your Twitter followers to re-tweet your chats.

2. You are the moderator, so your listening skills need to be in tip-top shape.

3. Welcome people into the chat. Consider welcoming each member individually as they enter the chat. (Some of the larger chats have 4-6 co-moderators because one person just can’t welcome 100 people individually!) Introduce your guest, if you have one. Guests are great for three reasons: a guest helps you build credibility for your chat, helps you to drive content and direction of your chat, and increases participants of your chat. Introduce questions. Announce the end of the chat, thank your guest and advise participants of the next chat.

4. Ensure (1) that the chat stays on course and everyone is playing nice, (2) people are engaged, (3) questions and topics are thought-provoking, (4) interest is maintained throughout the length of your chat and (5) people come back for more. Moderators should listen first (this skill deserves repeating), re-tweet guest and participant comments as much as possible, ask questions to drive conversations and opine last. Yes, your opinions are last. What will make your chat stand out in the eyes of your participants is creating an environment where they are encouraged to participate and that may look different to different folks – they may just listen, may re-tweet or re-tweet with a small comment or make comments. Remember, you are creating a brand and as such, focus on making your participants’ chat experience as wonderful as possible.

5. Don’t forget to post transcripts of the chat to those who could not participate and participants who want to review the chat. Storify is a great tool.

For Participants
1. Help the moderator promote the chat. That may involve either posting or re-tweeting the details of the Twitter chat.

2. Follow the four-pronged approach of online chatting – Listen – Engage – Respect your fellow chatters – Help by suggesting resources and tools. Listen to what is being discussed. Engage either through re-tweeting, commenting or asking questions. Respect the opinions of your fellow participants. If you agree with them, let them know. If you disagree with them, be nice about it and indicate why you disagree and offer your take. Help and support the moderator and your fellow participants by offering appropriate ideas, resources, tools, etc. during the chat.

3. Help the moderator during chat by welcoming participants, re-tweeting moderator, guest and participant comments, and thanking the guest.

4. Have fun and help make it fun.

5. Check out the transcripts and promote the next chat.

Happy Twitter chatting.

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