What’s that hashtag? Twitter chats 101

Hashtags on Twitter are useful for a number of reasons, one of them being conducting a real-time chat among Twitter users. A twitter chat happens at a designated time around a specific topic—usually weekly—and anyone can join.

There are hundreds of chats that take place each week, but the basic premise is this:

  1. Someone decides to organize a conversation about a topic of interest
  2. Every week when the chat time arrives, Twitter users can “sign on” to the chat and join the conversation. You can signify that you are participating in the conversation by tweeting with the designated hashtag. (ex: #journchat is a weekly conversation that takes place every Monday night, created by @prsarahevans.)
  3. The chat moderator will pose questions to the community, who chime in with their thoughts, answers and comments. Conversation, networking and retweeting ensue.
  4. You can easily follow the chat using a tool like TweetChat or TweetGrid.

I usually use TweetChat. Here’s how it works:

  1. Sign into Tweetchat using your Twitter login information
  2. Type the hashtag you want to follow into the search box on the top of the page. All tweets containing that hashtag  (ex: #journchat) will be filtered into your tweetchat stream, making it easy to follow conversation surrounding that topic.
  3. As long as you stay logged into TweetChat, the hashtag (#journchat) will automatically be added to your tweets. This allows other users to easily see your contributions to the conversation.

Joining a Twitter chat is a great way to connect with likeminded individuals, exchange ideas and make valuable connections. You will find new people to follow, and others will follow you.

You can find a comprehensive list of Twitter chats here.

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