The Newbie's Guide to Kinderchat
So, you have found your way to our website and you think we are all so cool and fabulous that you TOTALLY want to chat with us on Monday night!?
Problem: you are unclear as to how exactly one goes about joining a twitter chat. Have no fear, we can help!
1. Get a twitter account
3."All About Hashtags"
A hashtag is a twitter "label" so people can easily find tweets of interest to them. Somewhere in your tweet, you type the "#" sign, followed by a keyword, with no space in between.
(Examples: "Can't wait for #kinderchat in 3 hours!" or "How do you teach children the difference between sleeves and kleenexes? #kinderchat") The #kinderchat hashtag is used throughout the week for all tweets that may be of interest to the community.
Login using your twitter acct (if you get a pages asking for your permission, click "YES!") and type #kinderchat in the box at the top.
All tweets containing the hashtag will appear on the page, and will update automatically. When you type in your own tweet, tweetchat adds the hashtag for you, which is a nice feature if you tend to forget, like me.
tweetgrid.com: Not as pretty as some of the others, but simple to use, Tweetgrid allows you to follow several topics at once. It does put ads in your stream, so I recommend choosing a 1x2 setup at first, and ignoring the lefthand column, as that is where ads appear.
Click on 1x2, click "Login", click "yes" when asked for permission, then type #kinderchat in the box at the top of your righthand column. Click "search" and all tweets containing the hashtag will appear.
Type your own tweets in the box at the top (where it says "Tweet:") Tweetgrid will remember the hashtag for you after you type it in the first time.
Hootsuite.com: Hootsuite uses tabs to follow as many hashtags as you want. It has a LOT of functions, and many kinderchatters love it (I find it a little complicated to set up, but maybe that is just me). In addition to Twitter, it can be linked to a number of other social media outlets: Facebook, LinkedIn, Foursquare, etc.
It requires you to create a separate account (whereas Tweetgrid and Tweetchat just link directly to your Twitter account). If you are pretty comfortable with social media, I recommend you play around yourself and decide if you like it.
Tweetdeck.com: Unlike the others, which are web-based, Tweetdeck is software that you install on your computer. It allows you to follow an unlimited number of topics, sorted into columns. It is also compatible with facebook (And it MAY, in some cases, provide a workaround if your school wireless network blocks your access to the Facebook site. Just sayin...)
Once the chat starts, introduce yourself and join the conversation.
Having tech trouble during the chat? Feel free to ask for help, we are a friendly bunch!
6. Join in!