Monday, September 2, 2013

Let's Chat

This is the second in a two part series called A Guide to Twitter and Tweetchat Part I  It was originally posted on the blog Women of Teal was posted August 26, 2013. 
Updated 9/16/13

Hopefully you have spent some time on Twitter and are feeling a bit more comfortable sending, reTweeting and favoriting Tweets. Now let’s get ready to take part in a chat.

What is a Tweetchat?
A Tweetchat is a virtual gathering of people discussing a particular subject. Using a hashtag helps identify the tweets that belong to the discussion. We will use #gyncsm in each chat. The conversation happens in real time and can take place at a fast pace. As with any tweet the character limit is 140 characters.

The first time I joined the #BCSM (breast cancer social media) chat, I searched for #bscm on twitter and followed along. I wrote some tweets but I forgot to use the hashtag twice and had to type in the tweets again with #bcsm . It was a bit of a challenge remembering and following along with the questions and comments.

So I researched Tweetchats and found that there were sites that were set up to make it easier to follow along and join in during a chat. The sites automatically add the hashtag to each tweet you write. I use Tweetchat (

All you  have to do is go to the site, sign in with your Twitter account  and enter #gyncsm in the “Hashtag to follow” box. When the page opens you will see a box at the top of the page where you enter your tweet. Below that you will see all the tweets in the chat room. You can set the rate at which the chat window refreshes, the character size on the page and reTweet and reply all from one page.  

Others use ( which has a layout similar to Tweetchat, Hootesuite ( ) or Tweetdeck. ( Feel free to check them out. I recommend that if you use those other sites you don’t wait till the night of the chat to sign up for the site otherwise you might miss some of the chat.

So what happens on chat night?
The #gyncsm will take place on the second Wednesday of the month at 9pm EST. Our first chat will occur on September 11, 2013.

A few minutes before the 9pm EST start sign in to Tweetchat or the site you prefer. You will see that some of us have already tweeted using the hashtag to remind our followers to join us.

Our #gyncsm Chat Format
Introductions  (9:00-9:10 pm EST)
All moderators will introduce themselves. We will then ask those who feel comfortable doing so to introduce themselves. Don’t worry if you feel like just “eavesdropping” on the conversation that is ok. You can always tweet us (@gyncsm) or e-mail us ( with questions/comments after the chat is over.

Questions/ Discussion (9:11- 9:49pm EST)
Each chat will have a specific discussion topic.  The moderators will be prepared to share links that relate to our night’s topic. The discussion will revolve around 3 questions or comments regarding the night’s topic.  As we post each topic /question everyone is invited to comment. We ask that you be sure to use T1,T2 &  T3 in your reply so that we know which Topic you are responding to. 

In the future we may have special guests (authors, researchers or social workers) join us for a chat so the format may be modified for those occasions. We have put together a list of topics for discussion but feel free to let us know what topics you would like to talk about by sending a tweet (@gyncsm) or 
e-mail us (

We will have physicians and other medical professionals join us as moderators during the chats.  Please  refrain from asking them questions about your own personal health issues.  Rather jot those questions down and call or speak to your doctor at your next visit. 

Summary /Closing Remarks (9:50- 10:00pm)
During this time we will review the discussion and ask you to share what you learned by using "TIL"- Today I learned in the tweet. We will also remind you of the date / time and topic of our next chat. 

Chat Tips
Here are some things to keep in mind if you are new to chats:

·      As with all tweets, you are only allowed 140 characters per tweet.
·      I realize that the pace may be quick at times with participants commenting but please don’t be discouraged. You can scroll back in the conversation to catch up.  We hope to make a transcript of the chat available.
·      Please try to stay on topic. Side conversations are distracting and will make a crowded discussion more difficult to follow.
·      Try to keep retweets to a minimum so that the discussion can flow smoothly. 
·      The chat is not the place to promote your project / book / event/ fundraiser. We know you are all doing wonderful things please feel free to share with all after the chat is completed.
·      Be mindful that although we may all be dealing with a gynecologic cancer the experiences we have may not be  the same.  Please do not criticize another’s treatment decision.

We hope you will let us know what we can do to make this a supportive, welcoming and informative chat.  

A special thank you to the ladies of #bcsm for being a model of  how a successful chat is run.


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