Twitter Chat Disaster
Twitter chat happening today Thursday at 1:00pm EST time called #TwitterSmarter with Madalyn Sklar who is the Twitter chat host. I know about it because she mentions that she hosts it every Thursday in her #TwitterSmarter Podcast and on the podcast I got a blanket invite to attend.
The problem is, I don’t know what a Twitter chat is, and I don’t want to show up looking stupid like I was invited but didn’t know what to wear or how to act.
Not to mention I don’t know where it’s being held. Is it something I go to? Is it online behind some closed portal? Do I need a password or link to get in? Or do I just set my alarm at 1:00pm EST and go to Twitter and type in the hashtag #TwitterSmarter?
If I’m wondering these things, I’m sure someone else out there is too.
I Googled “How to participate in a Twitter Chat” and several articles popped up with people who assume I know more about the internet than I do. They said stuff like “Fill out your profile and add a picture.” Yeah, but what profile are we talking about? Is this my Twitter account profile, or is there a virtual school with lots of little chat rooms and I just choose one and then register? Does it cost anything to go? Do you have to register in advance, or can you just appear at showtime?
So after hunting around the world wide web like a detective here’s what I found:
Yes to the school like hub concept with virtual chatrooms where online Twitter chats are held. The ones I found are:
All of them seem to be similar in nature in that you sign in to those chat hubs with your Twitter account (so yes, you need a Twitter account – and yes, it is your Twitter account that needs your picture and profile.)
You register for the Twitter chat by authorizing the chat room to access your Twitter account.
The hub I chose for today’s Twitter chat was TweetChat.com only because I’d heard Madalyn talk about it before.
I went there at 1:00pm to watch and learn.
I typed in the hashtag #TwitterSmarter and suddenly a webpage opened also known as “the chat room.” At 1:00pm sharp lots of people started tweeting, introducing themselves and there was an ice break round for people to get warmed up, and here’s what I learned:
A twitter chat is a conversation between anybody who enters the room and decides to participate. Usually there is a host, and often times a guest.
Here’s the quick rundown:
1 = My Twitter picture (when I tweet something in this group my picture shows up next to my tweet.)
2 = #TwitterSmarter is the hashtag we will be using during this chat to link the tweets to this chat room and this conversation.
3 = Active chatrooms in this virtual school like chat hub (right now it’s 62)
4 = The amazing show host Madalyn Sklar a.k.a. known from here though this entire chat as @MadalynSklar
5 = Todays Twitter chat guest Dagmar Gatell known from here on out as @DagmarGatell
You can participate by answering questions the host is asking.
When you comment or respond, you must use the designated hashtag of the chat which in this case is #TwitterSmarter (In EVERY SINGLE TWEET) – It is the inclusion of this hashtag that links everybody together in the same conversation.
The chat started with rapid fire tweeting – this was a chat room full of pros who all knew the proper etiquette and had obviously done this before. I couldn’t read fast enough.
@MadalynSklar was a gracious host and welcomed the attendees and thanked somebody for some Twitter cards.
(Make note to self, what is a Twitter card? I don’t see any cards.)
Then she said “Everyone, real quick: tag someone you think would like this chat. Let’s invite them in to our cool club! #TwitterSmarter”
I started taking notes. How do you tag someone and invite them to this chat? Do you text them and then what do you say? And where do you send them?
I didn’t know what to do – so I did nothing, and the tweets were flying so fast I could read or take notes – not do both, and certainly not stop to make friends and invite them to a party where I was the wallflower.
@MadalynSklar was prepared with questions to keep us on track, and the questions were easy to see because somehow showed up in a fancy yellow highlight. Awesome sauce.
In her question there was a link – I assumed it was a blog with a cheat answer. I clicked on the link and it took me to the @MadalynSklar twitter feed where there was no blog and no cheat answer, but rather a fancy image graphic with the question she just posted to the group.
OH! This was the Twitter card she was thanking someone for. I get it. It’s an advertisement for everybody who didn’t show up to the Twitter chat. If you were just strolling by her Twitter feed, and you stopped to comment, you may be participating in the Twitter chat without even knowing it.
Hey wait a minute – maybe I have been in a Twitter chat before, I just didn’t know it. Embarrassing.
Then it occurred to me that the success of the Twitter chat is participation, not just watching. I should jump in at some point and answer a question. It seemed like the polite thing to do.
So I did it and hit send. I was so proud of myself. I tweeted in a Twitter chat.
OMG! I made a terrible mistake.
I wanted to reference the question I was answering, Question 2, so I typed in Q2: added the #TwitterSmarter hashtag plus my answer, checked it for spelling errors and hit send.
Just like that my tweet was live for God and everybody else to see in bright yellow. How did it turn yellow? What did I do wrong?
ERRGH! My face flushed and I started looking for a delete button.
I didn’t fine one.
Learn from this mistake:
Q = Question & Yellow
A = Answer with no yellow.
(Instead of Q2: I should have typed A2:, A3: A4: etc. )
Should I apologize to the group? Nah, get back up on the horse and don’t think any more about it. So I screwed up. Guess I’m human.
And in my answer I typed in something about Tweet Jukebox. @MadalynSklar was gracious enough to tactfully show me how to fix the A2: and to show me that when referencing someone else, you tag them by @Tweet_Jukebox to include them in the conversation.
OH! That’s how you tag someone in a casual conversation, instead of calling them by their real name, you use their Twitter handle. Same rules in the Twitter chat as on Twitter itself. That makes sense.
Okay so back to the earlier question of tagging a friend and inviting them to the party: If you bribed me with a grilled cheese and made me do it – I guess I would tweet (not text) and say @AngelaOberer go to TweetChat.com now and type in #TwitterSmarter – Twitter chat happening now. You’re Invited.
And then hope they have twitter notifications turned on so they would get the message before the chat was over. Maybe that’s still not the right way, but I’m learning.
I didn’t find this until AFTER the Twitter chat but here is a great article on How to be a good Twittizen and would have been helpful to have read prior to my just jumping in and making a fool of myself.
Another Twitter Chat Mishap
Oh I made another fool of myself, @DagmarGatell welcomed me to the chat as a first timer, and I hit the reply button and it took me to her Twitter feed. It auto populated her twitter handle and there was a space for me to leave a message. It seemed very private, and like I was direct messaging her. I wanted to thank her for welcoming me and for her expertise and time with us in the chat. I thought “hey maybe this isn’t the only Twitter chat she’s doing today, so I’ll reference the chat with the #TwitterSmarter hashtag.
BAM! My private tweet to her went live for everybody in the chat room to see.
(Note to self: If you use that hashtag, the entire group is going to see your post.)
To my later horrification – EVERY SINGLE TWEET, that I tweeted during the Twitter chat posted live to my twitter feed. I guess that’s how twitter chats work.
Suddenly I’m super glad that the chat I was attending, was about Twitter – which happens to be in alignment with my brand. No harm, no foul. But can you imagine if I would have been attending a Twitter chat in another genre that my brand doesn’t support?
Sidebar: I have my Twitter notifications turned off so I don’t get interrupted all day, I just check Twitter when convenient for me. But if you have your notifications on, and you’re following someone and they enter a Twitter chat – you are going to get blasted with notifications every time they tweet something in the Twitter chat. As a courtesy to your guests, alert them that you’re entering a Twitter chat, invite them to join if appropriate, and let them know they can turn off notifications during the hour you’ll be
What I’ve learned since my Twitter Chat
I learned from another blog that you can greet a friend in a Twitter chat, but don’t use the chat hashtag or it will end up in the chat archive.
WHAT? There is a chat archive? So someone looking back will see that I did greet a friend and used the chat hashtag. Oh man, they’re not going to let me back in. That’s three screw ups my first chat.
And where does this archive live? How long before it self-destructs? Who gets to re-read it?
I also learned that it’s NOT COOL to sell your own products and services during a tweet chat. That makes sense. If Twitter chat guests click on your twitter handle, they will automatically end up at your Twitter feed – which brings us back to the purpose of filling out your profile. Nobody says you can’t sell something through a landing page link in your Twitter profile. Then it’s an organic find rather than you shouting it inappropriately during someone else’s twitter chat.
The good news is now that I’ve learned about Twitter Chats, and I know there are 62 other active rooms – I’ll be checking out other chats – only this time with better manners. I’m sure this is just the tip of the iceberg but hey, you’ve got to start somewhere right? And once you learn something, you can’t un-learn it, so I’m a better person (even if I embarrassed myself) for jumping out of my comfort zone and attending my first Twitter chat.
And what about you? What are your best Twitter Chat ideas, rules or tips?
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