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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

DIY MFA Twitter Chats (and Some Twitter Tips)

Hi everyone!  Hope you're all getting excited for DIY MFA starting this weekend.  Today, I just wanted to write a quick post to announce the schedule for DIY MFA Twitter Chats.

Starting in April, we'll be chatting on Sundays from 5pm - 6pm EDT.  Each week I'll have a topic and we can discuss, or we can talk about DIY MFA in general.  It'll also be a time to debrief after the Saturday Writing Sprints and a great way to connect with other writers.

DIY MFA chats will use the hashtag #diymfa.


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For those who are new to twitter chats, here are a few twitter tips that have helped me navigate the world of twitter chats:

Use TweetChat: tweetchat.com allows you to enter a hashtag and then it opens that hashtag in a new window, sort of like a chat window.  It's got some great features like it bolds tweets with your @username on it and your own tweets so if there are multiple threads in the chat, it's easier to follow.  It also automatically adds the chat hashtag to your tweets.

Remember, Twitter Chats are not Chat Rooms:  In a generic chat room, everyone who sees your posts is also involved in the chat, but this is not true for twitter chats.  The trick to tweeting effectively during a chat is to make your tweets specific to the chat but also broad and detailed enough so that if someone sees it out of context it could still make sense.  Of course, it's impossible to do this with all your tweets, but you should try to avoid strings of tweets that look like this:
@person1: OMG! Awesome!
@person1: @person2  Totally agree.
@person1: @person3  Yeah, me too.

This is where using Retweets can help give your tweets context.  Like this:

@person1: OMG! Awesome! RT @person2 Just finished my novel!
@person1: Totally agree.  RT @person2 Writing a novel is hard.
@person1: Yeah, me too.  RT @person3  I wish I had finished my novel already. Taking too long.

Don't be shy.  Jump in.  Tweeps are nice peeps.  Don't let a chat full of people who know each other make you nervous.  Just say hello and jump into the conversation.


Forgot to add this when I first posted but will add it now:
Anyone else have other advice for twitter chat newbies?  Also anyone who's done a twitter chat: can you tell us which ones you'd recommend?

(I'll share my #chat picks in the comments.)

7 comments:

E.J. Wesley said...

The chats are probably the single biggest reason to join Twitter (in my opinion). Besides being a blast, you really meet a ton of likeminded people (depending upon the #topic).

In the popular writing chats, it's not uncommon to see agents, editors and reasonably famous authors throwing out their thoughts. The best part? You get to potentially talk to them! The worst part? They see everything you're writing if they're following the #stream! So be nice ...

I wish you all had written this 6 months ago, I might have joined Twitter then. Great info, as always!

EJ

Ghenet Myrthil said...

Marking my calendar... :)

Gabriela Pereira said...

Thanks for some awesome comments EJ!

Ghenet--looking forward to it!

Gabriela Pereira said...

Twitter chats I've done and my thoughts:

#litchat - Awesome! One of the times I did this chat it was moderated by an editor so that was super-cool.

#storycraft - More writing-focused than business-focused, where people share their ideas on matters of craft.

#blogchat - Super informative but moved really fast. Not an ideal chat if it's your first time but really worth it once you've gotten the hang of twitter chats. Also, found it really fascinating to meet bloggers in fields other than writing.

Any other twitter chats out there I should check out?

Carol Riggs said...

I haven't really tried a chat! Been on Twitter a whole month now. ;o) I did an #askagent though, and it sounds like it was pretty similar, just jumping in and writing something and answering back. A little more one-sided perhaps than a chat, though. I'll have to try a #litchat sometime. :)

Kerryn Angell said...

I've been on twitter for awhile but hadn't ventured into the realm of Twitter Chats until this past weekend. Gabi had told us TA's she was planning on doing chats for DIY MFA and I figured I better see what they were all about. I had definitely been missing out! I followed #writechat this past Sunday and really enjoyed it. Tweetchat is fantastic and made it really easy to follow. I did find it went a bit fast at times but I was able to keep up easy enough and found myself participating much more than I expected.

I'll be there on Sunday (10-11pm UK time) ready to chat. :)

MJones said...

You'll want to warn your twitter followers that you're about to enter a chat so they can either mute or unfollow you while you're posting a flurry of tweets that have nothing do with what anyone else is talking about.

That's another great benefit of tweetchat. It adds a hashtag after every post, so that makes it easy for people to filter out that particular hashtag.

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