How do I join a Twitter chat?

Twitter chats are essentially virtual meet-ups for people with common interests and they are BIG in the #edutwitter world! If you’re looking to connect with other educators on a wider scale then Twitter is where it’s at.

With the nation in various states of regional lockdown, making connections is even more important than ever. Twitter chats are great for professional networking, creative ideas, a heads up on the latest research, fab book recommendations, learning effective classroom strategies and generally engaging in meaningful conversations about shared topics of interest, but these online get togethers also lead to ‘offline’ friendships too. What’s even better is that you can do all this from the comfort of your own home, in your PJs, with a tea G&T in hand! The icing on the cake? No video required!

There are many amazing Twitter chats for education professionals and I’m very excited to be launching the very first #UKLAchat next week with @_borntosparkle. The #UKLAchat will discuss all things Literacy and will be hosted once a month to encourage teachers, literacy leaders, librarians, academics, educators, students and parents to come together to talk about timely topics such as non-fiction (November), diversity and inclusion, vocabulary, reading comprehension, digital literacy and reading for pleasure (to name but a few!). So, if you’re ready to join the conversation but you’re not quite sure how Twitter chats work, read on for a whistle-stop guide to getting involved!

The three simple steps below are for #UKLAchat but the same basic rules apply to any other chats that you decide to attend.

Good luck and enjoy!

Miss P x

How do I join in a Twitter Chat?

1. Choose a Chat

This is the easy part! Find a chat that is linked to your area of interest. Often, Twitter chats are hosted regularly on the same day and time each week or month. Often, there will be a schedule posted in advance, like the #UKLAchat schedule below, so that you can see the upcoming topics you’d like to participate in. Next, note these dates down in your calendar so you don’t forget (very easily done!). #UKLAchat is held on the first Thursday of each month at 7.30pm – 8.30pm and the very first #UKLAchat will be hosted on Thursday 5th November (Remember, remember the 5th of November…).

2. Find the chat on Twitter

On the right day, at the right time, head to Twitter and search for the hashtag (in this case #UKLAchat) and follow along by click on the ‘Latest’ tab at the top. This will give you the rundown of the most recent comments (the live stream) for the hashtag that you want to follow and join in with. Just remember to hit refresh occasionally to make sure you’re staying up to date with the comments.

Top tip: If you are finding the general thread a little overwhelming (and this can easily happen if it’s a popular chat), try simply following the host’s page. This way you will be able to clearly see the questions that are posted as and when they come up. The first #UKLAchat will be led by myself (@sadiephillips) and @_borntosparkle so do follow along with us if this proves easier!

3. Join in!

Now that you’re on the hashtag stream or following the host’s tweets (see step 2), all you need to do is read along and join in using the hashtag. Most Twitter chats generally last an hour (although the conversation and lively discussion often goes on much longer than this!). Generally, Twitter chat hosts post one question every 15 or 20 minutes to spark discussions and then everyone joins in. They usually number the questions so that they’re easier to follow (Q1, Q2, Q3 etc.) so if you’re responding to ‘Q1’ try to use ‘A1’ in your response, as well as the hashtag (#UKLAchat) in every single post so that others following the chat can see your responses and engage with you too! Others might like, retweet or reply to your comments, which you can also do with others who are involved in the discussion. You really get out what you put in to any Twitter chat so my advice is to dive straight in! You can share ideas, photos, experiences, opinions, recommendations, ask questions or just sit back, watch and enjoy!

Please note: It goes without saying but you should always be polite, courteous and professional during Twitter chats.

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