Twitter Chat Etiquette and Essential Guidelines

So, you have found a Twitter chat you want to take part in and the date is drawing near. It is still a fairly new method of communicating, and many people are unaware of the ‘rules’ involved in such a discussion. They may even find themselves being warned or banned from chats without knowing why. That can be quite disheartening, and I have seen it happen more than once.

The problem is that people don’t realize there is a specific etiquette involved in a Twitter chat. You should know the general guidelines before you try to take part, to avoid problems when you begin.

  • Always check the actual chat host for rules about their particular event. Sometimes a link will be included with the chat announcement, but you can often find these on the website of whoever is hosting the blog. Some chats won’t have any rules up, but you should always check before you take part.
  • Stay on topic. Moderators are present during Twitter chats to make sure things don’t go too far off topic. If you do find yourself wanting to engage in a separate conversation, do so through private messages.
  • Know what constitutes spam. Posting a link about the topic in question probably won’t raise any eyebrows. Continuously posting the same link, or repeating the same comment over and over, will almost always be flagged. So will posting links that are not related to the topic. Some chats won’t allow any links to be posted at all, so be sure to find out. If in doubt, ask a moderator.
  • Be pleasant and courteous. This should go without saying, but it is amazing how many people will ignore this golden rule. Don’t start an argument. If you disagree on something, be polite in how you say so and conduct the conversation like a debate.
  • If you arrive late, look through the other posts before beginning. You need to be caught up with the conversation, so take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with what has been said. This keeps reposts from occurring, and keeps the chat moving.
  • Respond to people by name. Twitter chats move quickly, and by the time your respond to someone it might not be clear who you were speaking to. Always include their Twitter handle at the beginning of any response. Don’t use real names, as not everyone present is likely to know who the person is.
  • Always use the hashtag. Each Twitter chat has their own hashtag associated with the chat. Use it in every post, or it won’t show up as part of the conversation.
  • Make sure your Twitter feed is not private. Your posts won’t come up on the chat even if you have a hashtag. You need to make all posts public so others not following you can see what you are saying.

Do you have a tip for engaging in a Twitter chat that wasn’t covered? Let us know in the comments!

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