What Makes for a Successful Tweetchat

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?

Did you enjoy this post? Why not leave a comment below and continue the conversation, or subscribe to my feed and get articles like this delivered automatically to your feed reader.

  • Mack Collier

    Hey Sue, thanks for the mention and link, and thanks for helping to make #blogchat as successful as it is! Just curious, what makes #journchat easier for you to participate in? Is it that it's more structured with asking new questions as a regular basis? I'm interested cause I always want to know how I can improve #blogchat to make it better for everyone and easier to follow!

  • http://philbaumann.com philbaumann

    Nice, Sue.

    You know another thing that makes Twitter chats successful?

    Chats that talk about things other than social media and Twitter :)

    Really – I think Twitter chats are wonderful ambient ways to share, connect, network and publicly brainstorm.

    I run #RNchat (and, yes, occasionally we talk about using emerging media professionally) but its success I think has been due to the variety of topics that can be discussed – especially since nursing is about the most diversified professions in the world.

    Hopefully we'll see more Twitter chats spring up that go well beyond social media – there's a ton of topics which can be served well be the medium.

    Thanks for the post!

    @PhilBaumann

  • http://www.sueannereed.com Sue Anne Reed

    The Q&A format of #journchat makes following the topics you're interested in easier. While not everyone is perfect at using the Q in their replies, enough are that it works out pretty well. It also makes it easy to ignore questions that you're not interested in. #journchat is from 5-7 pm, and that's usually when I'm finishing things up at work. If a question pops up that I have zero interest in participating in, I know I can ignore #journchat for 5-10 minutes and then jump in at the next question. With #blogchat, I feel like I can't do that and if it does happen, it's hard to jump back in to the conversation.

  • http://www.sueannereed.com Sue Anne Reed

    Great point Phil! And, I actually meant to include #hcsm in this post and then got sidetracked on another topic. I think there's a lot of great tweetchats out there that are doing a great job with industry specific discussions. In fact, I'm probably going to write another blog post about them.

  • http://philbaumann.com philbaumann

    Look forward to it! I have a few other chats I have in store too, which I'll probably launch in the next few months.

    Definitely cool stuffs!

    Phil

  • http://ItsDifferent4girls.com/blog Linda Sherman

    I look forward to that. A list of good chats w time they run would be most welcome. #tweetchat If I miss your post can you kindly alert me. I'll be sure to Delicious it etc. One of the interesting comparisons on how these are run is how they choose to archive. I missed the chat but your own summary of the last #BlogChat seemed quite valuable. For the full archives, it would be interesting to compare these two platforms http://twapperkeeper.com/hashtag/custserv and http://wthashtag.com/transcript.php?page_id=939… as well as others.

  • http://ItsDifferent4girls.com/blog Linda Sherman

    You can customize your DISQUS to go to @sue_anne instead of @15080283 – this is where it replies when we select “share on Twitter” for our comment.

  • http://prsarahevans.com prsarahevans

    Thank you so much for mentioning #journchat! -Sarah :)