Twelve Twitter Party Twips
A Twitter party, or group Twitter chat, is when a group of individuals ‘get on Twitter’ at a specific time and use a specific hashtag to communicate with each other. Twitter Parties are often confused with Tweet-ups, the latter being actual face-to-face meetings organized via Twitter. Conversely, a Twitter party or Twitter chat is completely online.
Each Twitter party has a specific topic and/or target audience, and uses hashtags (i.e.#yourpartyhere) to track the participant’s comments. For example, I’ve been attending a regular group chat for the audiovisual community called #AVchat, founded by Linda Seid Frembes (also known as @AVwriter).
Twitter parties come in all sizes, from a handful of school friends to hundreds of participants world-wide. If you have never attended a Twitter party, or if you call yourself a Guru, here are twelve tips for your next Twitter party or group chat:
- Choose a unique hashtag (i.e.#yourpartyhashtag) that no one else is using, and generally short so you have more room for conversations. For example hashtags, check out this online calendar at Tweeparties.com. You should should also search Twitter itself for the hashtag. Remember: you don’t want to make enemies on Twitter, and there are plenty of hashtags left. Once you decide a hashtag, you can unofficially ‘register’ it at Tagal, Twubs, and Tweeparites.
- While at Tweeparties, look at the other scheduled Twitter chats that may be competing with your target audience. Of course, you can attend two Twitter parties at once, but then you are only giving half of your attention to each party. Two timer! Or is it two tw-imer?
- Before the chat, you may want to warn your Twitter followers that you will be attending a Twitter party as they may see an influx of random tweets from you in the next hour or two.
- If you have never attended a Twitter chat before, I highly suggest using Tweetchat, which automatically follows the chat and adds the appropriate hashtag to your tweets. Tweetchat is a type of ‘aggregator’ designed specifically for Twitter parties.
- You can also use other Aggregators like Tweetdeck, Hootsuite, or TweetGrid to follow your chat. All of these aggregators rely on the Twitter API, which can be problematic, and brings me to my next tip:
- Be patient when the chat seems to lag, or completely locks up. Remember that Twitter is still a growing bird, and its API was not designed for multi-point conferencing. API issues are very common in Twitter parties, you may just have to pause a few minutes and let the problem fix itself. Don’t freak out, just go get a cup of coffee, or tea, or another beer.
- Don’t multi-task. Just like real parties, its rude to check email or be on the phone during a Twitter party, and the whole point of a Twitter party is to chat! Depending on the number of participants, the Twitter chatter can get very fast paced, and there is no way to slow it down. For the most part, the speed of the chat is dependent on the rate of posts. If it seems too fast, you should spend more time reading, and less time typing.
- If you are streaming music or using other chat windows, you may be causing your own bandwidth issues (this is what I like to call a classic PEBKAC issue). Make sure you have a solid internet connection, and that your refresh rate is set to auto or 1 second. If you are just using Twitter, you will need to hit refresh every couple of seconds, which is why I recommend using Tweetchat instead.
- Be on time. There is no such thing as fashionably offline. Unlike many real world meetings, Twitter parties start on time. If you are late, no one is going to wait for you, or even notice that you are not there. And like most real world meetings, its best to be there early and hear the pre-game small talk.
- If you are late, don’t try to catch up, just jump in and then read what you missed later. If you miss the party all together, you can use Twitter, Tweetchat, Tweetdeck, Tweetgrid, or Hootsuite to search the “transcript” of the chat, including any follow-up posts.
- Don’t be a virtual wallflower. Yes, you can listen to an entire chat or party without saying a word, but I guarantee that you will enjoy it more and get more out of it if you participate and post some comments. You don’t have to answer every question, but be sure to introduce yourself, and try to “peep” in at least a few times.
- Don’t sell yourself, your services, or your products. Don’t post that XYZ Company is the leader in blah blah blah … or Be sure to check out my website….No no no. This is a party, not a billboard. Better to say something interesting, something that will actually make people interested in you. They can always check out your profile later after the party.
Twitter parties are a great way to stay in touch with industry professionals, or just other people with a common interest. It’s a good way to network and make new friends. Unlike real parties, everyone speaks at once, and all to each other at the same time, so it can be a bit confusing. You can also have sidebar conversations with other participants during or after the chat, using ReTweets, Direct Messages, or emails.
For more information on Twitter Parties or group chats, please contact Paul Konikowski, or visit this website.