Yesterday I hosted a Tweetchat for a client. The idea is simple: you set aside an hour, adopt a hashtag and talk about your given subject. Ideally you use a platform like crowdchat.net, which automates the hashtag for you. I had three experts on hand and it went well.
Some things to bear in mind if you want to do this yourself:
- I grant you this will sound like vested interests talking, but it really does help to have someone on hand whose sole focus is to keep the thing going, fill in any lulls and ensure people are welcomed. If you’re the subject of the chat, you won’t have time.
- Preparation is everything. In previous Tweetchats I’ve started off asking the experts to introduce themselves and there was a pause while they typed their responses. It can’t be difficult to type yourself a quick intro so that you can cut and paste it onto Twitter and get the intros out of the way swiftly – and establish some sort of pace for the event.
- Likewise, send a few questions to the moderator in advance. He/she can cut and paste these to fill any lulls and it will take only a second, maintaining the impetus. Oh and for goodness’ sake read the questions carefully rather than decide on the day that they look peculiar or are difficult to answer. On at least one occasion I’ve managed to stump an expert with a question that they (or more likely their agency) had sent me only the previous week.
- If you’re sending a question to the moderator in advance, have a cut and paste answer ready rather than allow for another pause. Try to leave the answer open to some debate – your objective is to engage with people and get them talking.
- You’re likely to be on a conference call with the moderator while the thing is running. Stuff can happen in the background so if you need to have a conversation with someone else, put yourself on mute rather than distract everyone else. Also, listen to what the other people are saying: on more than one occasion I’ve drawn people’s attention to a question, someone has confirmed they’re answering it and a minute later someone else has asked whether anyone has seen the question we’d just spent time discussing…
And if you’re the moderator, remember your job is logistics and being alert to the imperative that everybody has to have their questions answered. The hour will zip past unless there’s a lull – in which case three seconds’ pause will feel like a lifetime…
Do you need help with Tweetchats or any other element of communication? Let’s talk – email me by clicking here.