Looking for a party that doesn’t require you to dress up or consume loaded calories? A Twitter Party might be for you.
They sound silly – but a Twitter Party is really just a focused online discussion held in real time via Twitter. To throw a Twitter Party you simply choose a hashtag, set a time and invite people to join you online to chat. I have attended a number of parties sponsored by the USDA and/or related to nutrition education. They have been informative and I’ve felt like I’ve made a connection to some of the other attendees.
Usually the discussion is led by one or two Tweeters. They post questions to the attendees if the goal is conversation. (Or maybe one moderates questions from attendees to the other – if it’s more of an open interview.) It helps if those questions (and answers/responses) are numbered. By the nature of Twitter the conversation can happen quickly. Numbering helps attendees follow the threads of discussion.
Some parties have been very large – seemingly thousands of participants. That works well if the goal is to inform. For example, the session might start with information such as new school lunch nutrition standards. The key Tweeters might give an overview or link to an article of video overview. Then invite the crowd to ask questions.
Some parties are much smaller – maybe a couple dozen people or fewer. That works well for conversation or building a sense of community. That’s when a questions to the group work well.
I think it helps to use a tool such as TweetChat http://tweetchat.com/ to keep up with the conversation. In fact with TweetChat you don’t have to have a Twitter account to follow the conversation. (You do need an account to Tweet.)
I also like the 140 character limit – keeps everyone sharp and concise. When they need to, attendees can include links to more info. I like the fast pace of conversation, but it can get frenetic. The key is take in what you can, don’t be afraid to chime in if you have something to say and be respectful. Many Twitter Parties have corporate sponsors, so there’s also a chance to win real prizes. Because of this side of Twitter Parties many of thinly veiled commercials – but some are actually interesting discussions.
Sound intriguing? You can learn about upcoming Twitter Parties here: https://twitter.com/TweetPartyGuide