How to Dive in to Twitter Chats

About Twitter Chats'

I was supposed to post this well over a week ago. October’s kind of got away from me though and I’m just now catching up with myself, almost mid way through, on a Tuesday morning when I’ve already been in work for almost two hours (not by choice, I promise). So, sorry for being quiet of late guys. Here’s a little piece about Twitter and blogging and the generally wonderful people to be found on the internet.

The Blogging Community is FULL of wonderful, supportive people.

Seriously. It really really is, and I was never more aware of this than when I decided it was time to start taking part in things like Twitter chats.

Twitter has always been this odd mysterious place for me. I didn’t get an account when it first became a thing because I just didn’t see the appeal. I wasn’t hugely into social media, a Facebook was enough for me back then. To be honest, social media still isn’t really  my thing when it comes to my personal life, but I’m starting to like it for blogging.

When I decided to start a blog I realised I would probably need a Twitter, and a Facebook page for it, and maybe an Instagram too. And I was a bit terrified. Beth from Smart Girls with ADHD, my Gilmore Girls soulmate and main blog pal (and who recently got included in a list of top ADHD blogs, legend that she is) was my Twitter person. She helped me set it up, explained the craic around it and retweeted me.

Even then Twitter was a bit scary, it just seemed like there was so much going on ALL of the time. It got a bit easier once I caught on to Lists. I have one now for my favourite bloggers, my favourite authors, news outlets, my favourite people and miscellaneous blog stuff, like retweet accounts that are good for browsing when I fancy something new to read.

So, I had my lists, I was dipping my toe into tweeting, tweeting famous people (it literally made my day once when Shonda Rhimes favourited one of my tweets) and slowly coming to realise that twitter was a pretty friendly place. I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say more friendly than Facebook at times, but I’m a twitter newbie, so I fully accept that there’s probably a seedy troll filled underbelly I have yet to be exposed to.

Then I heard about blogger chats and my ears perked up a little bit. I was a blogger, right? Not a big one, but I blogged, could just anyone join? So, like any girl would, I immediately googled it. Found a few calendars (Becky Bedbug has a pretty comprehensive schedule). I snooped about each one and tried to gear myself up to actually take part (this is harder than it seems).

I tried twice, and both times were pretty resounding successes. The first was in June, hosted by Jemma of Dorkface. won’t lie, I found the whole experience a little bit stressful. Keeping up with replies and questions and being afraid to miss something or someone. Then trying to keep track of all the lovely people I chatted to so I could check out their blogs. Multiple tabs are your friend here, and accepting that you’re not going to get chatting to everyone. Stress aside, that chat was the reason I wrote my very first wishlist. I’d confessed that I was afraid it would look stupid and the other blogs encouraged me to go write it anyway.

After that I stopped for a while because of life, and moving to a new place, and crazy problems with getting my internet set up (it was literally only activated the other week and I genuinely don’t know how I survived so long without a proper internet connection in my home). So when a reminder popped up on my phone that there was an  LBoggers Chat twitter chat one evening, hosted by Polly of Polly’s Pocket Book, I decided it was time to jump back in and actually take part in one now that I had no excuse not to. It’s funny, but the older I get, the more I appreciate the importance of spontaneous decisions. More often than not they result in lovely and unexpected things. A lovely twitter chat, a great night out, a career in software.

This one was much the same, a lot of conversations, a lot of people, and a lot of different topics. But it was really fun, exposed me to new blogs (ones that I bookmark and don’t just add to Bloglovin’. My favourite blogs are always bookmarked). And, well, they resulted in this post. The one I published right after the chat and before I could lose my nerve. The one that I started writing in May and have been hesitant about ever since. The one I have yet to share on my Facebook page because that’s where some of my family will see it and I’m not sure I’m ready for them to.

I never would have posted without the support  of other bloggers, sharing their stories and encouraging me to share mine. The support and encouragement from these women who don’t know me, who will likely never meet me in real life, had never even heard of me before that one hour twitter chat on a Wednesday evening, was just astounding and so so heart warming. I just had to write about it. I couldn’t not.

I had doubts almost immediately, and they got that too: they anticipated that; told me I might instantly regret it; be stressed and worried about it; let me know that that would pass. All of this through twitter and blog comments. All of them with much bigger, polished and popular blogs than mine, taking the time to just be nice people, which is pretty darn amazing.

So, here’s a breakdown of how I handle twitter chats:

  1. Check out the topic and the host. Do the first so you can have a think about it. Do the second just for fun. But if you find yourself only checking these five minutes before the chat, don’t sweat it.
  2. Clear the hour. Make yourself a pot of tea, sit yourself down somewhere comfortable and prepare for it to pass really, really quickly. Seriously, you will feel like you’ve barely started, and suddenly the hour will be gone.
  3. Clear your desktop, get rid of any unnecessary windows. Abandon Facebook, YouTube and Pinterest for the time being.
  4. Have a window dedicated to the hosts twitter page so you can keep track of questions as they’re asked.
  5. Have a separate window with tabs for each conversation you get involved in.
  6. Be yourself. Respond honestly. Don’t censor your reactions (unless they’re horrible or mean, then maybe consider censoring yourself), generally don’t worry that you’ll sound stupid. You know you’re not.
  7. Remember that everyone has to start somewhere.
  8. Keep in mind that everyone taking part in these chats are just people like you. Yeah, a lot of them might have big shiny successful blogs, you may just be a beginner, but it doesn’t matter. They’re a friendly bunch and they don’t bite.
  9. Follow up with the people you end up chatting to. Check out their blogs, their twitter, their general banter, you’ll almost always find a new go-to for a Sunday afternoon read.
  10. And finally, to quote Douglas Adams. Don’t Panic.

It looks like a club at first, one where everyone knows each other, and I worried I wouldn’t fit. But honestly, the blogging community just feels like this wonderful open place now. So, if you don’t think twitter chats are your thing, if you feel like you’ll be the awkward new kid that no one will like, if you feel like you fail at twitter, or you’re just plain terrified of sounding stupid: don’t, do it anyway. It’s fun. (I promise.)

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