So you come here and you see that I am always talking about chats. I’m talking about #blogchat one day, #custserv another. So finally you crack and you decide you’re going to try #blogchat one fine Sunday night. And you come away thinking, “You have GOT to be kidding! I can’t keep up with that!!”
So, I’m going to offer some advice for you today. I often hand out this advice in 140 characters to people whom I see tweeting something along the lines of “Ahhhh!!!”
Before we get down to technology issues, there is one thing I believe whole-heartedly about Twitter chats, and this makes a big big difference.
For me, the goal is not to keep up. The goal is to carve my own conversations so that I can get what I need out of the chat and so that I can help other people. So I am going to tell you how I do that, and then I will offer you some information on how to accomplish that goal plus others.
I am a ping-pong ball
Now, I use the web version of Twitter, although new Twitter is making me seriously consider moving to an outside application like Hootsuite. But the general mechanism I’m going to describe would work the same way no matter where you are.
So let’s say we’re in Blogchat. There are 20 new tweets every twenty seconds (try saying that 5 times really fast) and it can be very overwhelming. So what I do is I skim through real quick and look for comments I want to respond to. Now in my case, I tend to look for question marks or for people who are struggling with the fire hose of information. Maybe you are looking for someone who has questions similar to yours.
Once I find a comment I want to respond to, I do so. I might look for one other to respond to. Then I go to where I can see replies to me – in the old Twitter that was my @ page. In the new Twitter it doesn’t exist during chats (grr). And in applications it can be your @ column. I wait a few seconds there to see if there are replies to my comments or replies from other people. If so, I respond to those. If not, I jump back into the main stream and look for more people to talk to.
This I think is a fairly different way of doing chats, but there really is not a way to see, let alone digest, everything everyone says during a chat, and most chat owners will send out archives anyway so that you can read at your own pace. For me the idea of the chat is to meet new people, help people out, and share ideas. So that’s what I do.
Other ways to keep up
A lot of people think I’m nuts, and one reason they think that is that I don’t use a Twitter client to participate in chats (this may be changing). However, I do see the merit in such things. So here are some other ways to handle the technological aspect of big chats.
Stan @pushingsocial put together this EXCELLENT tutorial on how to use TweetGrid for keeping up in #blogchat
Debra Leitl of MentorMarketing wrote a great article about how HootSuite strikes a sweet note
Finally, check out this post by Caroline di Diego (@CASUDI) on how she makes the most of online chats.
I hope this helps, but please don’t hesitate to ask any questions! And I hope to see you at a chat real soon.
Image by Cienpies Design. http://www.sxc.hu/profile/cienpies