For more comprehensive advice about Twitter, please see my Writer's Guide To Twitter.
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A FEW TWITTER CHAT TIPS
If you're arriving after the chat has begun, try to catch up on older posts to find out what you missed. DON'T start posting right away -- you may be interrupting a moderated chat with guest authors or editors, or there may be a particular theme or topic of discussion.
DON'T post promotional info about you or your book unless it comes up naturally in the chat. Imagine you're invited into someone's home for an informal gathering of writers; would you start plunge into talking about your book, interrupting conversations already in progress?
Don't get angry if people seem to be ignoring your posts. In a crowded chat, posts often go by very quickly and people often miss reading some posts. System lag can also delay the public appearance of posts. Wait a little and then try re-posting.
I've found it handy to keep an extra browser window open, to monitor any "@" replies I may have missed seeing in the main chat window. I find Tweetdeck really helpful for this.
If you're replying to someone's comment, be sure to include that person's account name in your post so they see it.
If you're using a regular Web browser, include the proper chat name hashtag, or no one in the chat will see your post.
Proofread your tweet before posting.
Try to stay on topic, if there is a topic of discussion.
Don't forget that if you have a protected Twitterfeed, people won't be able to see your posts unless they're following you.
Consider opening a separate (and public) feed for chats.
If you use one Twitter account for regular posts as well as for chats, you may want to warn your followers that you're about to participate in a chat and may therefore be posting a LOT for the next little while. Or you might consider having a separate account just for chats. Here's how I tweet.
Even though the environment may seem intimate and casual, ALWAYS REMEMBER that your posts are public. You can always count on someone taking a screenshot of an embarrassing post before you have a chance to delete it, plus certain types of feeds will still retain your post even if you delete it. Never, ever post in anger; don't forget what happened to Alice Hoffman.
Never post in anger. (see above) I know I keep harping on this, but I've seen far too many writers make this mistake and regret it later. If you want to disagree with someone, do so respectfully. Don't let someone goad you into a flamewar.
Also remember that people reading your Twitter page will only see your posts, and not the others in the discussion. These readers may include other authors, editors, and agents whose professional opinion of you may be altered for the worse, depending on what you post.
TWITTER CHAT ACRONYM PRIMER
I'm still learning the acronyms, but here are some you may come across in a Twitter chat for writers:
YA = young adult
MG = middle grade
UF = urban fantasy (thanks to @tom_hummer)
FWIW = for what it's worth
LOL = laughing out loud
LMAO = laughing my ass off
RT = retweet (usually precedes the Twittername of the person who is being quoted or retweeted)
BFN = bye for now
TTFN = ta ta for now
BRB = be right back
Chat acronyms used in e-mail, IM and text messaging (includes handy search box)
Some other useful resources:
How to Join Twitter Chats from Meryl.net
Last updated on July 13, 2010 by Debbie Ridpath Ohi