Yesterday, I did my very first Twitter Chat on my RT account, @BeardedRT. I went in blind, as I had only ever taken part in 1 or 2 Twitter Chats myself and I had never hosted anything like this before. I was quite nervous but the format seemed quite simple and I was confident that I would be able to handle it.
I had done a bit of research and realised there are Twitter tools that I could use, which would make the chat a whole lot easier. I started using TweetDeck so that I could schedule my tweets for specific times but also so that I could have all of my feeds on the one, easy to manage screen. This really did make things so easy and I would not have been able to cope if I didn’t elect to use something like this.
Honestly, the hardest part was deciding on a topic for the chat. I wanted it to be something interesting but very relatable so that plenty of people would feel like they could engage. I was struggling to think of something that would fit but after I wrote my last post about anxiety, I realised that this was the perfect topic. It turned out that my decision to talk about anxiety was probably the best I could have made.
While I was thinking of a topic for the chat and working out how I was going to do it, I had to set it up and make sure people knew that it was happening. I’ve never been a huge fan of constant self promotion and I never tweet the same content over and over again. In this case, I created a couple of polls, to determine when I should do the chat and also which hashtag people would use if they took part. These polls were a great success and far more people voted than I ever imagined would for my first ever chat. It’s now been set that my chats will take place on Sundays, between 6pm and 7pm and that we use the tag #BeardedChat. Everything seemed to fall together so seamlessly!
When it came to the actual chat, I decided to use what seemed to be a tried and tested format: 4 questions, asked every 15 minutes, with some RTing and replying in between. I set up all 4 questions well in advance on TweetDeck.m posted a couple of tweets about the chat to remind my followers that it was happening and jusy waited for 6pm to arrive, when my first tweet was due to go live. When the moment came, I was amazed at the instantaneous response that I got. People were engaging from the moment I posted the first question. It was incredible, from the point of view of somebody who was almost entirely new to RT accounts and Twitter Chats. The questions were tweeting automatically every 15 minutes, which gave me the freedom to RT and reply to all of the answers. The hour flew in and I had an absolute blast, engaging with my followers and chatting about our own experiences with anxiety.
The whole process seemed so natural and I found that I took to it like a duck to water. It didn’t feel stressful, like I was worried it would; it actually was fun and I loved it so much. I am so glad that my first chat was such a positive experience and it makes me so excited for moving forward with it. I am already looking forward to next week’s chat and am even thinking about doing it 2 times a week pretty soon. I genuinely am passionate about doing this and it’s the first time in a while that I have felt this way.
If you’re reading this as somebody who took part in the #BeardedChat, thank you so much for joining in! If you are new to it all, why don’t you join in at some point? #BeardedChat is every Sunday, from 6pm to 7pm. You are all more than welcome to come chat and make new friends!
Love and Peace