Writer tech: A Twitter twit’s take on tweet chats, #hashtags, and … what the heck is a twitterview?

When I wrote about my first experience hosting a twitterview last month, someone commented, asking what the heck a twitterview was.

Yeah. BIG oversight on my part.

So, here, for your edification, is the long-delayed explanation.

A twitterview is an interview conducted by tweet chat. What’s a tweet chat, you ask?

Tweet chats are when Twitterers, or Tweeps (people on Twitter), get together and chat about a specific topic. They make themselves a virtual meeting room by using a hashtag to mark all of their tweets. Only those participating in the chat and using the hashtag can see all of the tweets, but the followers of each participant get to see all of that participant’s tweets.

This is why it’s so important to use the hashtag consistently. If you don’t, your tweet will not be included in the conversation and will not be replied to. It’s also kind of frustrating to see only half (or less) of a conversation.

Here’s a hashtag directory where you can identify topics of interest and show up for the meeting: http://twubs.com/p/hashtag-directory/twitter-chat/1064600_179

But how do you participate?

There are several ways to tackle this.

In Twitter itself, you can search the hashtag and bring up a list of the most recent tweets using it.

Mto5 hashtag in Twitter

This is what it looks like.

If you want, you can participate in the chat from there, but you will experience some limitations, like the inability to alter tweets when retweeting (RT) or modified tweeting (MT). This can be a pain in the butt.

If you’re comfortable with Hootsuite, you can set up a stream for your hashtag. In the new stream panel at the end of your existing streams, select Twitter, and then the Search button. Enter the hashtag, and voila, you have a stream dedicated to just that hashtag.

Mto5 hashtag stream in Hootsuite

You can also use Hootsuite to alter tweets when RTing or MTing, or to schedule tweets for the twitter chat if you’re so inclined.

Also, hashtag rooms can be set up using tweetchat.com (chat must be active to enter room) or tchat.io.

Mto5 hashtag room in tweetchat

Mto5 hashtag in tchat.io

The main benefit of a hashtag chat room is that the hashtag is automatically added to your tweets posted using the chat room service. Very convenient.

If you want a little more information on tweet chats and how to participate in and conduct them, here are a few helpful links:

Or you can Google your own results using the terms twitter party, twitter chat, or tweet chat.

Thus endeth the lesson.

I’m doing this in the hope of encouraging some of the more Twitter-phobic among my followers to give tweet chats and twitterviews a try, especially my upcoming twitterview with book doctor and bestselling author, Roz Morris next Saturday.

That’s Saturday, March 29, 2014 at 2 pm EDST. Use Twitter, Hootsuite, tweetchat.com, or tchat.io to attend, but if on Twitter or Hootsuite, don’t forget the #Mto5 hashtag!

So looking forward to my second twitterview hosting gig. If you like Roz or have read any of her books, please drop by next Saturday. We’re going to be talking about all things Roz 🙂

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes! Rethinking my online strategy

I’ve been through a fair amount on this platform-building journey, from my first hesitant steps, through my experience of being hacked, and my triumphant return to the blogosphere.  I think it’s time that I took a little more control of my online life rather than letting it control me.

To this end, I’ve retooled my blogging schedule.  I’ll only be posting twice weekly now, Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Tuesdays (starting next week) for my learning and development category, and Thursdays for all things Writerly Goodness (it’s a grab bag folks!).  Fridays will be set aside for any guest blogs and other special events.

The truth is that I really have to get back to my novel.  If I don’t have a product, what’s the point of all this platform development?

Back in April I partook of Robert Lee Brewer’s Platform Challenge.  I’ve learned a lot from the experience and made a lot of online friends through the continually evolving Wordsmith Studio community.

Recently, I also volunteered to help develop Author Salon’s social media campaign.  With working, critiquing, curating, blogging, and hopefully writing, my schedule’s full enough.  I’m learning and growing though, as a writer and in social media.  As Christina Katz wrote, if it’s not painful, you’re not growing.

Actually, what she wrote was:

If you are frustrated to the point of tears or total exasperation, then wow, you must really be taking risks and stretching yourself. Good for you!

Think I’m getting there 😛

For the next six weeks, I’m participating in We Grow Media’s How to Build Your Author Platform course delivered by Dan Blank.  I’m hoping to learn how to make more efficient use of online tools to recapture some of my precious writing time.

Today, however, I want to share some pearls of online wisdom I’ve learned over the course of the past few months:

From Nathan Bransford:

  • When you post something to Facebook or G+, the link that you copy into your status will be embedded.  Once the post shows up, you can delete the pesky link and use the space to say something more apropos of your witty authorial persona.
  • Render unto Twitter that which is Twitter’s.  In short, if you tweet a lot, don’t link your Twitter feed to Facebook.  I experienced the negative side of this earlier this year, when a friend joined Twitter and I saw his half of every Twitter conversation he had.  It was excruciating clutter, but because he was a friend, I didn’t say anything.  He isn’t the “hey, you’ve got a booger in your nose” or a “that dress makes you look like a hoochie mama” kind of friend.  Sorry Dan.

From Kristin Lamb:

  • Don’t spam your friends.  Though tools like Hootsuite make it very convenient to post to multiple social media at multiple times, don’t do it unless you’re there to engage anyone who might respond.  Twitter is about having a conversation, forming a community.  If you’re automating you posts and someone replies to you or retweets saying that they liked it, you have no way to engage them if you’re not actually on line to respond.  Prove you’re not a robot?  Only post/tweet/share when you’re on line.  Got a day-job?  Tough.

Other points of etiquette:

  • Got published?  Yippee!  But I don’t need to see the same post every five minutes.  If I’m interested, I’ll check it out, but I find that half my Twitter feed consists of people trying to promote their books.  It becomes a visual kind of white noise and I tend to ignore those tweets after a while.  Pace your promo posts, and again, try to do it when you’re online to respond to any enquiries.
  • In the same vein: be professional.  In the early stages of any platform building effort, it can seem like you’re not getting anywhere.  It takes time.  Sometimes years.  Be patient.  If every time you post to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, G+, or any of the other social media sites, you’re practically begging people to “share, please share” it smacks of desperation.  It’s off-putting.  If you write honestly and put out quality material, people will share of their own accord.  Again, it takes time to build a solid following.
  • If you’re interested in proposing a guest blog for someone and they’ve posted guidelines, treat them as seriously and professionally as you would submission guidelines to a magazine or journal.  Read the guidelines and follow them.  Respect the blogger you want to guest post for.
  • The other side of that coin is that if you’ve entered into an agreement, informal as it may be, to host a guest blog, or to interview someone, treat it with as much respect as a written contract.  If you can’t, for whatever reason, hold up your end of the deal, be up front and address the issues with your guest or interviewee.  If you have to decline after receiving the interview transcript or post, then do so in a timely manner.  Pretend you’re a publisher, because that’s what you’re doing when you host guests or conduct interviews, and treat your guest or interviewee as you would like to be treated if your positions were reversed.

It’s the golden rule.  Be polite.  Be professional.  Show respect.  You’ll be amazed how those three simple phrases will transform your online life and how much more quickly your platform will grow as a result.

Ok.  Kicking the soap box off to the side now 🙂

There might be some additional changes coming in the future as the result of Dan Blank’s course.  I’ve been considering a thematic revamp of the blog, but I want to hold off until I have some feedback.

On that note, if you have any of that for me (feedback) please feel free to comment.

How are your platform development efforts going?  Have there been bumps, or ruts in the road?  What have to done to work through these issues?  Do you have a plan moving forward?  Do tell 🙂

Writerly Goodness, signing off.