Friday, October 21, 2011

What is the Most Effective Way to Host a Regular Twitter Chat?


This question was recently posed on Quora.  Here are my suggestions for the Most effective way to host a regular Twitter Chat:

Strategy

Recognize that a regular Twitter Chat is an event requiring human participation. Even though its digital on an open platform, it still requires similar planning, thinking, and structure as any other regularly scheduled event to guarantee its success.

Think strategically and post your thinking on a webpage (start with a wiki or blogpage, then identify a relevant name that ideally works well for a hashtag and domain name)

Answer these questions in your planning
What is the purpose of the Twitter Chat?
Who is the desired audience?
What is your goal for producing the Chat?
What are your success metrics?
What is your road map?

Break down your event planning into 3 parts
a) Before the event begins (prior to launch and between regularly scheduled events)
b) During the event
c) After the event

Tactics

Prior to Twitter Chat Launch

Determine the following details:

1. Topic: Decide your twitter chat topic. Search Twitter hashtags and the Twitter Chat Schedule to see if its already covered: http://bit.ly/hbEgyt

2. Team: Choose a partner or two to collaborate, co-host during chat, handle logistics and promote between chats. Sustaining momentum requires group effort between events and when you're not available. If your purpose is to engage an audience around a topic, community nurturance is an ongoing effort.

3. Audience: identify who is already discussing this topic on and off Twitter, what organizations, events and experts are focussed on it. Make contact and start creating a twitter list to engage those people in conversation and share your plans. Create a means of driving people to your webpage and encouraging them to register or subscribe for ongoing exchange. A Twitter Chat is one potent piece of a community engagement and fully integrated social media campaign effort.

4. Schedule: Choose a schedule that works for a core group of potential participants to guarantee an audience at launch.

5. Format: Your purpose and topic will help define the most effective format for your audience.

Format options range from;

a) the open bar networking type event if you just want to build community and provide a meeting place for people to tweet together during a time frame where they're allowed to promote themselves and self-interests;

b) themed free-for-all where people are encouraged to stay on topic;

c) an expert guest speaker where tweeters ask questions relevant to the guest's subject matter;

d) semi-structured - where the host provides questions for participants to discuss;

e) hybrid event - where the live action takes place on another platform off Twitter, but the conversation occurs within Twitter;

f) Socratic Format
pioneered by the Global Product Management Talk and suggested for professional events. Before the event, the speaker provides links to presentations and questions. Participants are encouraged to prepare to engage in a valuable conversation by sharing their own experience and expertise with both the speaker and other participants. Questions from the audience, suggestions, disagreements and humor is encouraged. The hosts moderate the chat by welcoming new comers, monitoring the discussion to stay on focus, orienting the speaker, watching the time and moving the conversation forward. This becomes a valuable interactive information exchange during the live event time frame. Afterwards, the transcript of tweets is posted and participants are encouraged to blog about their experience and continue the conversation in a static format.

This should get you started. You can check out the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on the Global Product Management Talk website for additional details from the weekly #prodmgmttalk Twitter Chat.

Global Product Management Talk is a weekly mini-product camp Socratic discussion (on Twitter) of pre-posted questions (on Facebook) with live audio of thought leader and co-hosts commenting (on Blogtalkradio). Global Product Management Talk weekly twitter chat Mondays 4-5 PM PT Thought leader answers preposted questions. Follow @prodmgmttalk Use #ProdMgmtTalk to show up in discussion. Executive Producer Cindy F. Solomon @cindyfsolomon http://pack.li/1d   http://www.prodmgmttalk.com
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