For more comprehensive advice about Twitter, please see my Writer's Guide To Twitter.
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A chat on Twitter basically consists of people making posts that include a particular hashtag (words that start with '#'). To read posts made in a chat, you just search for that hashtag in Twitter. Here's a sample search for the hashtag '#writechat.'
If all you want to do is monitor a chat and not say anything, that's all you need to know. You'll need to refresh the page to see updated posts. If you want to say something in the chat, just post your comment to Twitter, but make sure the hashtag is included somewhere in your post so other people in the chat will see it.
That's the simplest way to participate in a chat so if you're in a hurry, there's no need to read further.
It can be a hassle to have to manually add the chat hashtag each time you post (and inevitably you forget) and also to keep refreshing the search result page. To make Twitter chats a more pleasant experience, there are many Twitter chat tools available (for free!); I've included a list of some later in this page.
Last updated on July 13, 2010 by Debbie Ridpath Ohi