Day 341. Twitter chat: a guide

In July 2013 on July 18, 2013 at 12:20 pm


Are you a newby to the world of twitter?

Want to interact with top notch scientists and communicators but not sure how?

Come to #onsci! The fun, fast and furious monthly twitter chat session on all that’s happening in the public science interface.

Here are a few guiding tips to get you started:

If you’re already on twitter and want to watch or participate: follow the host account (@onsci), and create a column or tab to see the hashtag (#onsci)

If you don’t have a twitter account, and just want to watch: type in twitter search onsci in your search engine. Once you find the page, make sure you refresh regularly once the chat starts to see all the updated content in real time.

Entrust young people and pets to some other responsible person or their beds. Alternatively, charge up several pieces of electronic equipment and ‘plate up’ (now part of the lexicon in our house thanks to TV cooking shows, dammit) various snacks.

Get a cup of tea/glass of wine for self.

Warm up fingers.

At the allocated time, the chat host will kick off proceedings by welcoming all comers. A few sporadic tweets will start to trickle in.

If you plan to participate, make sure you add the hashtag to all your tweets (otherwise it will not get collected into the conversation, and will be missed).

If you tweet something without the hashtag, and realise a moment later, just retweet yourself and add it. Nobody minds.

Throughout the next hour, the host will then ask a series of specific question, and label them with Q1, Q2 etc or similar. The questions will be paced to match the remaining time and activity of the audience.

If you answer a question, you can let others know that you are addressing that particular question by adding Q1 at the start of your tweet.

If you have a general comment, you don’t need to specify a particular question.

Depending on the size of the participating audience, tweets can come in thick and fast. And fast means fast – overwhelmingly fast at times. Do not panic and do not feel obliged to read and answer every single issue that comes up. Read content at your own pace, and engage in conversations within the hashtag that interest you.

You may chose to tweet specific responses to other participants (using their user name eg @sciencesarah) or just in general to the hashtag. Please remember that normal rules of polite engagement apply – abusive or very cranky messages won’t get you anywhere.

If you have links to post, you may like to use an url shortener (google it) to reduce the characters required (some of the twitter hosting platforms have this built in).

A storify compilation of the tweets from each #onsci chat will be collected and posted to the hashtag after the session. You can review all tweets and links from this file.

Enjoy, and hope to see you at #onsci! Tonight’s chat starts at 9pm AEST, and questions will explore the Venn diagram that represents science journalism, science communication, media platforms and the idea of audience (background here).

[image thanks to Marcin Wichary on flickr]


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