We’re so excited about our Twitter Chat series. Our first Twitter Chat created more than 4 million impressions! If you haven’t participated, we invite you to join us for our upcoming Twitter Chats.

Not sure how Twitter Chats work? No worries. It’s free and easy! First, let’s start with some basics about Twitter in general.

Twitter Basics

Whether this is your first time visiting Twitter or you’ve just been away for a while, you can quickly brush up on Twitter basics. Learn how to post a tweet, retweet, reply and favorite posts. Not a member yet? Sign up for free.

What is a Twitter Chat?

Participating in a Twitter Chat allows you to communicate with others over Twitter in real time. Typically, the Twitter Chat host posts a question on Twitter and then everyone is welcome to answer the question and respond to other participants’ comments. In order to tie all of the questions and responses together, all participants will include the same hashtag in their posts.

What is a Hashtag?

Wondering what a hashtag is? This is what a hash looks like: #. A hashtag is nothing more than the number sign, also known as the pound sign followed by a keyword, phrase, or acronym. Think of hashtags as Twitter’s way of indexing the millions of posts into searchable categories.

Twitter has the ability to sort messages into topics if they are labeled with a hashtag. If you search for a hashtag topic, you can see all the posts on that include that particular hashtag. For instance, two of the most popular hashtags on Twitter are #love and #hair. To look them up, go to Twitter.com and type #love or #hair into the search bar at the top of the page.

Diabetic Connect Twitter Chat Hashtag

For our Twitter Chats, we have chosen the hashtag #DCDE, which stands for Diabetic Connect Diabetic Education. If you type in the hashtag #DCDE into Twitter’s search bar, you’ll see all of the tweets that have occurred around the topic of diabetes education.

Placing a Hashtag in Your Post

Since the hashtag is the way to connect your post to all the other posts about a certain topic, you need to remember to include the hashtag somewhere in your post. Here’s an example of what your post could look like:

How to place a hashtag in a post on Twitter

What Does the “Q” Mean at the Beginning of Posts?

Typically, questions are labeled with a “Q1” for question 1, a “Q2” for question 2, and so on. So at the appointed time, begin watching for the posts from the host containing the questions. In most cases, when someone responds to the question, they will indicate which question they are responding to by placing a “Q” and the question number at the beginning of their post. However, some people will use an “A” for answer. Some others will just respond without signifying which question they’re responding to.

Here’s a question:
Explaining the "Q" at the beginning of a post on a Twitter chat

Here’s a response:
Chris Clement's Twitter chat response on Diabetic Connect

Here’s another question (it’s part two of question three):
What's your biggest frustration when you talk about diabetes with others? Twitter chat question on Diabetic Connect

Here’s another response (this one is for part two of question three):
The ignorance of those who don't understand diabetes

As mentioned earlier, not everyone responds to questions in the same format. This response, “A3a” is answering question 3, part one.
I will speak out until my loved ones and friends with diabetes are cured and the next generation is prevented from getting it

Twitter Chat Applications

You can watch and participate in a Twitter Chat on your Twitter page. However, if you want to get the most out of your Twitter Chat experience, you can use an application specifically designed for this type of online conversation. Here are some that do a good job of organizing Twitter conversations: TweetDeck, Hootsuite and TweetChat.

The image below shows the TweetDeck interface.

TweetDeck interface for Diabetic Connect Twitter chat