It's time to take flight! But how to leave the nest? Here's a quick guide to getting started and preparing to attend your first Twitter party:
- Sign up for a free Twitter account. If you don't have one already, fly on over to Twitter and get a free Twitter account. Click the large yellow "Sign Up" button found on the right side of your screen. Twitter will then take you through the process of creating a new account. Pick a username (or Twitter ID) that suits your personality. To join a Twitter party or chat, you must NOT make your account protected (or private), but rather accessible to everyone.
- Get used to Twitter. Learn your way around Twitter a bit: follow some of your friends or people/organizations you are interested in (Start by following TweeParties!). Send a few tweets, see how your timeline updates with new posts once you start to follow others, and learn some of the Twitter terminology.
- Find a Party. Once you've become more familiar with Twitter, it's time to PARTY! Find a party by checking out the links to calendars on our Twitter Party Resources Page. Some parties require that you register (or RSVP) in advance, some don't. The link to the party's page should make it clear what you need to do to attend.
- Follow the Party Hosts. If you find a party to attend and click on the party link, you will see a list of the host(s) for that particular party, usually listed by their Twitter ID (such as @TweeParties). It's a good idea to follow them beforehand so that you can learn about any last-minute changes or updates to that party.
- Follow the Party Hashtag. The hashtag is the key to the Twitter party. Think of it as a keyword (or phrase). It distinguishes itself from other words in a tweet because it has the "#" symbol before it (such as #tweeparties). Without it, parties wouldn't work. The party organizer or host chooses a specific hashtag for the party that each attendee must include in each tweet sent in order to be "seen" and included in the party. Without it, your tweet is just a tweet and won't be recognized as being part of the Twitter party. If you use a Twitter aggregator program (see next bullet point), these will automatically add the hashtag for you. Otherwise, you can search for the hashtag through the Twitter search feature, but this will require refreshing your browser to see the most recent tweets that use that hashtag. It's easier to participate in a party using a free Twitter aggregator program (see next section for more!)
- Decide How You Will Follow the Party. As mentioned above, you can attend the party through Twitter alone -- you just need to follow the hosts and the #hashtag (I attended my first party this way). However, manually refreshing your Twitter page to get the latest tweets can become tedious. You might want to try a "Twitter Aggregator" program, or free software that compiles all tweets from a particular follower, hashtag or both! Popular aggregators that work well with the Twitter API v. 1.1 (relased in June 2013) are:Tweet Deck,Twubs, or TChat.io. Whatever program you choose, give it a try beforehand so you'll be better prepared in time for the event. For first time partygoers, we strongly recommend starting with Twubs or TChat.io. They are easy to use with their single column format. Try going to the TChat.io homepage, sign in (you will sign in with your Twitter ID and Twitter password) and enter the hashtag. Not only will the timeline automatically refresh itself, but any tweet you send will include the hashtag in your tweets, so you don't have to worry about forgetting to include it. If the tweets seem to be going too fast for you, you can pause them using the 'pause' button at the top of the screen.
- Relax, Be Patient and Have Fun! It might take attending a party or two to really get the hang of Twitter parties. The more popular the topic or party, the faster-paced they might seem.. Don't worry about trying to view every tweet, take part in every conversation or chat with everyone at the party. Just sit back, say what's on your mind, explore the topic being discussed and have fun! But here's a tip for catching your breath: If you do use an aggregator program, you should have the ability to "stop" or "pause" your timeline (look for those buttons at the top of the timeline). Click to pause and the new tweets will stop appearing until you decide to it's time to resume. This pause feature will you a chance to catch up and read tweets you find interesting without feeling rushed.
- Contact Us. If you have any other questions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will do our best to help. Happy Tweeting!