Monday, August 10, 2009

Network with a Twitter Party

“Turn the lights down, the party just got wilder.” – Dan Rather

At the risk of sounding socially inept, I‘m confessing that I didn’t know how to party 21st-century style. Tired of being left out of the fun, I turned to my friend, Sandy Lender, for help. Kindly she agreed to be my guest blogger to explain the process.

Fantasy enthusiasts will recognize Sandy Lender as the author of the breakout novel Choices Meant for Gods and a leader of workshops on world-building and characterization. Her four-year degree in English and seventeen-year career in magazine publishing augment her book publishing experience for a variety of presentations. So without further ado I turn you over to Sandy, the party girl.

Online social media demand we flex our networking muscles, and Twitter constantly provides innovation in this gymnasium. If you’re new to the Twitter community, please check out the definitions at the end of this article for some of the terminology we’ll use. For those of you well-versed in tweeting, let’s take a look at a phenomenon that even veteran twitterers wrinkle their brows over—Twitter parties.

Some social networkers refer to a Twitter party loosely, defining it as an event IRL where twitterers from a local area get together to network. In public. That takes organizational skills.

A Twitter party in its true form takes place online, on a Twitter platform. Twitter users participate in a common discussion about a specific topic. They find each other’s tweets and replies by use of a common hashtag. To make this easier, users can employ applications such as Tweetdeck (my personal favorite Twitter tool and which you really must download (for free) through Adobe AIR), Tweetchat, the regular Twitter page, Tweetgrid, Twhirl, etc.

It’s as simple as that.

A Twitter party that visitors to this blog would have an interest in is #editorchat, which meets on Wednesday evenings. I’m usually in on an all-day party called #musicmonday and another called #winewednesday. Of course I don’t participate all day long, nor is that kind of participation required.

To participate in a Twitter party using the above-mentioned Tweetdeck, click on the third icon across the row of gray icons available at the top of the Tweetdeck screen. This is the “mentions” icon. It will provide you a “mentions” column, which brings up tweets that include your username by default. At the bottom of the column, click on the third gray icon, which is the “filter” icon, and a small text box will open. Type in your party’s hashtag, press the “enter” button on your keyboard, and let Tweetdeck find all the tweets in your group for you.

To participate in a Twitter party using the above-mentioned Tweetchat, click on the blue link in the top right of the Tweetchat home screen where it tells you to log in. Log in using your Twitter account information. When it presents you with a text box, type in your party’s hashtag. When it gives you the option, click the “enter room” button. By using Tweetchat, you won’t have to type the hashtag each time you type a 140-character post. It automatically tacks on the hashtag for you.

To participate in a Twitter party using the regular Twitter page, use the search function to enter your party’s hashtag. Use the “refresh” button to update frequently. This is the least efficient of all the options out there, in my opinion, but can get the newcomer started in a new, yet important, networking arena.

I welcome folks to join my Twitter followers crowd.
“Some days, you just want the dragon to win.”

Some definitions:
Tweet: the 140-character or less post made on Twitter
RT: retweet (a very polite thing to do if you read a tweet that you like)
Hashtag: a word, tag, phrase, shortcut following the “#” symbol that is used to let readers/followers know that your tweet belongs to a specific discussion
Twitterer: a person with a Twitter account who posts tweets
Follower: a person who follows your account and reads your tweets
IRL: in real life

Thank you, Sandy. Your post has me in the party spirit and anxious to try out what I’ve learned. Be sure to check out Sandy’s website. Choices Meant for Gods is available now and the intense sequel Choices Meant for Kings will be released soon. What Choices We Make is also available now.

When leaving a comment or question for Sandy or me, feel free to include your Twitter link. Maybe we can all party together one day soon.

Thanks for stopping by.

Tags: Sandy Lender, Twitter Party, network, on line social media, hashtag, tweeting, followers,


L. Diane Wolfe said...

That is good to know! I'd not done a Twitter party yet either. Don't even have a Tweetdeck!

L. Diane Wolfe “Spunk On A Stick”

Sandy Lender said...

Good morning, Diane,
People easily get "attendees" to parties by sending out invites via twitter, their blogs, their facebook posts, etc. Time & hashtag...
I look forward to seeing you on Twitter!
Sandy Lender
"Some days, I just want the dragon to win."

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Thank you, thank you! I have not been able to get a handle on the Twitter party thing. I'll be saving this post.

Mystery Writing is Murder

Morgan Mandel said...

I'd like to try a Twitter party some time.

Morgan Mandel

Karen Walker said...

Thank you so much for this post. I am saving it as well.

Galen Kindley--Author said...

Ah, Twitter. Okay, as author Jack Regan said on my blog, “as a new, unknown author, I can’t be picky about the methods of PR I use…so I’m trying everything.” So, though I’m developing a vitriolic dislike of Twitter, I’ll be broadminded and say…”I’m using the wrong platform for twitter interaction.” I have TweetDeck installed, but, can’t delete tweets from it, so, gave it up. In my Outlook program, I can delete the more annoying of them. So, Maybe I should explore TweetDeck a bit more.

Oh, do you know how to delete individual tweets from TweetDeck. I know the Icon sequence, but when I do it, TweeDeck sends me a message like, Action Prohibited by Twitter. Any help would be appreciated.

Best Regards, Galen
Imagineering Fiction Blog

Helen Ginger said...

Interesting. I've not participated in a party yet. And have been doing my tweetering right on Twitter, not via a third party platform. I may look into that.

Straight From Hel

Anonymous said...

I'm still learning this Twitter thing. Is there a Twitter for Dummies witten yet? I need one. I need to evolve past the daily Tweets. But I do know how to use hashmarks. So that's a start.

Stephen Tremp

John A. Allen said...

I tweet, but use it mainly as a form of light communication with people. I really don't see the point of a Twitter party. At that point, would it not be more feasible to move to some sort of a chat client?

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

Thanks to all of you who left comments. I knew I wasn't alone in my lack of understanding Twitter! Galen, I am going to try to get answers to your very good questions.

Stephen, I checked and there is a Twitter for Dummies book. Why am I not surprised!

John, Is a chat client also some sort of Twitter application?

Sandy Lender said...

Hi there, Galen,
If you're getting "annoying tweets" to the point that you want to delete them, you're following people that you don't need to be following. It's time to "unfollow," which you can do through your Tweetdeck platform. When you "unfollow" someone, their tweets disappear. Otherwise, I just ignore them because new tweets show up and push them down in sequence every few seconds anyway...

As for the "Action Prohibited" message you're receiving, are you receiving it while on Tweetdeck? Tweetdeck only allows 150 "actions" per hour (which frustrates the crap out of me). So if you check out someone's profile, pow, an action. If you direct message someone, pow, an action. If you send a tweet, retweet something, receive a friends update (which is automatic every few seconds), pow, more actions. There is a running countdown of xxx/150 in the top righthand corner of the Tweetdeck screen that will let you know when you're nearing the magic zero. When you've run down, it will prohibit you from performing any more actions. (FRUSTRATING!) That's when I switch over to regular Twitter and finish off my session because I'm socializing too much on Twitter!

I'm glad to see you here and wish you luck in winning Jane's fabulous novel this month! It's a great book--I read it and totally got involved in it!

Sandy Lender
"Some days, I just want the dragon to win."

Sandy Lender said...

To Morgan Mandel,
It's a joy to see you here! I've been a member of the Ning network since the population was about 200 or 300. I've got a group on there now called DragonDiscussions that I really need to give more attention to!
Sandy Lender
"Some days, I just want the dragon to win."

thebookaddict said...

I hold a Twitter party (actually a book chat) on Tuesdays at 7pm ET. It's a one hour book chat and we discuss a particular genre each week. It's a laid back chat and we talk about any books we want that are within the genre of the week. Tomorrow will be my third week and it's starting to catch on! The information Twitter page is @TuesBookTalk. The hash tag is #TuesBookTalk. My Twitter page is @thebookaddict. Thanks for this great blog! Hope to see you there!

Marvin D Wilson said...

Thanks for the Twitorial (grin) - I've been on twitter for over a year and use it a lot but have never done the twitter party thing yet. This post helped me and maybe I'll try one out. ;)

The Old Silly

Kelly Moran said...

i find social media sites helpful and fun and distracting, but twitter least of all. :)
great blog you have here. i'm following you now. you should pop on over and check out/follow mine. i have all things books...
nice to see you.

Jane's Ride - Novelist Jane Kennedy Sutton's journey through the ups and downs of the writing, publishing and marketing world