A couple of days ago, Mack Collier (@mackcollier) wrote “10 Steps to Creating a Successful Twitter Chat“. Mack is the founder and moderator of #blogchat, a Tweetchat that gets several thousands tweets a week and often has a couple hundred participants. It’s a great way to spend a Sunday evening and runs from 6-7:30ish pm Pacific — sometimes longer. He gives several good points on what has made #blogchat successful, and I thought I would write a similar post from a user perspective on what I think makes a tweetchat successful.
Most weeks, I participate in 3-4 tweetchats a week — sometimes more and if I’m super busy less. The three that I most often participate in are #blogchat on Sunday evenings, #journchat on Monday evenings (my first tweetchat); and #pr20chat on Tuesday evenings. Additionally, I’m an infrequent participant in #jobhuntchat (especially back when I was looking for a job), #imcchat and others.
The great thing about these chats is that they all are run by different people and each has a unique feel to them. #journchat was one of the original tweetchats, and #blogchat is been around for awhile. #pr20chat was around and then morphed into #imcchat before being resurrected on a different night.
There are really three different ways to organizing a chat:
a) Unstructured: #blogchat is fairly unstructured in its approach. Most weeks have a general theme (promoting your blog via social media, how to incorporate email marketing into your blog, etc.), but Mack’s approach is very low-key. He may have a couple of questions to get the conversation started, but then he lets things go on their own.
b) Structured, but no specific theme week to week: #journchat run by Sarah Evans (@prsarahevans) generally discusses the topics of journalism and public relations and the intersection between the two. Sarah generally asks a series of 10-12 questions throughout the course of two hours on Monday from 5-7 pm Pacific. Sarah puts out a call, both before and during the chat, asking people to submit questions and that’s what drives the chat. Participants are encouraged to use the question ID in their answers (Q1, Q2, etc.) to keep things organized.
c) Structured, and with a theme every chat: #4change and the weekly social media chats (#sm??, #sm??) generally have a theme during each chat and are also very structured. Some of the chats have a guest to help facilitate the discussion.
Of all the chats, I find #journchat the easiest to participate on. While I often learn a lot from #blogchat, because of how fast things move and the unstructured nature of the discussion, its easy to miss a lot of things. Also, I find the blogs that stick to a very structured topic often limit discussion.
What chats do you participate in and what type of format do you prefer?