July 2015 - By: Sophia Guevara
A guide for participants and chat managers
What is a Twitter chat?
✤ A Twitter chat is a set time for Twitter users to come together and
discuss a particular topic. The chats are free to participate in and can
be hosted by one account (example) or can be distributed over several
✤ Hashtags are often used to distinguish tweets.
✤ Organizations can choose to have participants sign-up for the event
(example) or just advertise it among their members (example).
✤ Twitter does limit responses to 140 characters so think about providing
the questions in advance so that participants can prepare thoughtful
Why chat? Benefits for the host
✤ A great way to engage your online community.
✤ Gain additional followers to your organizational Twitter
✤ Build awareness of your organization.
✤ Get a real-time understanding of the ideas and topics that
are important to your organization’s community.
✤ Networking of your organization’s community/members.
Why chat? Benefits for the
✤ Great way to connect with other professionals in the
field for free.
✤ Learn from other participants and learn about great
resources shared by the chat host or other chat
✤ Great at writing insightful tweets? You’ll probably gain
a few followers.
As a chat participant, what tools are
✤ Twitter account: 140 character limit. Free to use.
✤ TweetDeck. Free to use. You can use this to tweet
out and develop custom timelines to follow both the
chat host account and the hashtag that has been
developed. If the chat is broken up into specific time
limits like this one, why not schedule your tweet
responses to free up more time to respond to other
chat participants? Similar tools include Hootsuite.
The anatomy of a Twitter chat tweet
#NPHWchat held on April 8, 2015
✤ A3 - Answer to Question 3
✤ @PublicHealth - Host Twitter
✤ #NPHWchat - Chat hashtag
✤ @aeaweb - Twitter account of
Association (referring readers to
the association with the social
network analysis resource)
As a participant, what should I keep
✤ Twitter chats can be fast-paced.
✤ Remember to include the question/answer number in
your response tweet in addition to the hashtag
(example). You can also include the host Twitter
account name as well.
✤ Remember to limit your response to 140 characters.
✤ Remain professional and keep on topic.
As a chat host, what tools are used?
✤ Twitter account. Think about asking your Twitter followers to share the
news of the Twitter chat.
✤ Use TweetDeck to send out and monitor tweets during the chat. If you
break up your Twitter chat in specific time increments, you can schedule
the questions beforehand and have more time to develop follow-up
questions and retweet responses. Similar tools include Hootsuite.
✤ If you choose to have people sign up for the event, you can use Vite.io.
There are free and paid accounts available.
✤ Storify. This tool has a free option you can use to collect tweets from the
Twitter chat and archive them.
As a chat host, what should I keep in
✤ To get the chat going, you can choose to have people introduce themselves in
✤ Twitter chats may get off to a slow start because people may be late to join
✤ Provide a tip sheet beforehand and tweet out the link prior to the conversation.
In addition, remind participants to stay on topic and use the hashtag
developed for the chat.
✤ Encourage participants to follow the host account(s).
✤ Be ready for chat lag. You may have moved on to the next question but
people may still tweet out answers for the last question.
It’s all about me! How to deal with
the problem participant.
✤ If you publicize the chat, you may get participants who are
interested in promoting themselves or attempt to pose their
own questions to steer the chat off track. Most of the other
participants will choose not to respond as they are focused
on keeping up with the main chat on hand.
✤ If someone becomes bothersome, you can either choose
to ignore them or send out a message to ask them to stop.
✤ Think about blocking those that become bothersome.
Twitter chats and learning
✤ Not everybody will be able to make the chat so think about
using Storify to curate content for future learning.
✤ With some Twitter chats producing over 250 tweets in an
hour, develop a plan to collect the tweets that have
contributed the most value in a session. To find relevant
tweets, search by the hashtag developed for the event.
✤ Once developed, advertise the Storify link on your website
and social media accounts. Send out a tweet to some of the
participants whose content made it into the final version.