Thursday, February 18, 2021

Illustrators' Social tonight! Here are some quick tips for Twitter chat newbies

Until we can get together and socialize in person at SCBWI events again, Twitter chats can be a fun way to socialize with others during the conference. A Twitter chat is when a group of users meet at a pre-determined time, using a designated hashtag for each tweet. Tonight at 4 pm PST: The Illustrators' Social!

Yesterday was the Equity & Inclusion Twitter social, hosted by these lovely folk:

Note that in a Twitter chat, however, you DON'T usually see the others who are participating. The Zoom chat above was for the hosts to coordinate.

The most important thing to remember: if you want others in the Twitter chat to see your tweets, you need to always include the designated hashtag. It's easy to forget to include the hashtag, especially if the conversation is going fast and furious! I usually have the hashtag loaded up into my clipboard or TextExpander for easy access.

Another option is to use an app like Tweetdeck. Here's a quickie video I made to help Twitter chat newbies at the Illustrators' Social last year:

When a Twitter social chat starts at a virtual SCBWI event, you'll see something like this on the main SCBWI Twitter feed:

Sometimes, though, the river of different conversations and comments goes by WAY too fast (often the case during SCBWI Illustrator Socials, heh), and it's easy to feel overwhelmed! My advice: don't try to keep up with everything! Dip your toe in here and there, try to focus on 1-2 people at a time. If you still find it overwhelming, then just use the regular Twitter app and click on the designated hashtag whenever you want an updated page of comments. Feel free to use this link (which is basically just a search on Twitter for most recent tweets using the #SCBWIArtists hashtag). Don't forget to check your @ mentions; that's one way of focusing on particular conversations within the general chat.

Even while the comments are whizzing by, no matter how casual and fun things may get, always remember that your tweets may be read by those not in the chat. Never post personal information like your phone number or address. Also, be aware are likely reading your tweets out of context. Even if you say something you regret and delete it right after, someone may have taken a screenshot. Just like at the in-person socials at SCBWI conferences, stay professional. 

As the SCBWI tweets said above: be respectful and HAVE FUN!

I hope to see some of you at the Illustrators' Social tonight! Keep an eye on the SCBWI main Twitter feed for the official start as well as discussion questions and topics.

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