Jen Nipps, Writer

Posts Tagged ‘journchat

Twitter 101 – Part 3

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Let’s chat.

I know we’ve been talking about Twitter all this week, but today we’re going to talk about chatting on Twitter.

With the use of hash tags and some third-party applications, it is possible to hold a real-time chat where the discussions will show up in the Twitter stream in general. It’s rather difficult to chat on Twitter itself, but it can be done using the search function and frequently refreshing. I do NOT recommend this method for fast-moving chats, though.

What are the applications?
There are three primary chat platforms that work well with Twitter. Keep in mind these are probably PC-based. I have no knowledge of if they work well on Mac systems or not. (If someone who uses a Mac would let me know, I would greatly appreciate it.)

The three main platforms I have used are TweetChat, TwitterFall, and TweetGrid. It doesn’t matter which one you choose to use. They all work in a similar way. I prefer TweetChat because it seems more streamlined than the others. That’s just my opinion. You might prefer something else or even find one that I haven’t listed.

In a nutshell, to chat, you have to use a hash tag. Some examples are #journchat, #yalitchat, #scifichat, #writechat, and more. I don’t know if there is a comprehensive list of Twitter chats anywhere. I wish there was, but I haven’t had any luck finding one.

You have to sign in to your preferred platform using your Twitter ID. Some people don’t like doing this. To me, it’s no different from signing in to Twitter. You don’t receive e-mail from these programs and they don’t have access to your contacts. It’s just a software platform that works closely with Twitter to organize the chat.

Search Twitter for your chat. Look at the times when the tweets showed up. I can tell you #journchat is on Mondays at 8:00 Eastern time (in the U.S.) and lasts an hour.

Many of these chats follow the Q&A format in an effort to keep everyone on topic. It usually works. There is usually a short time at the beginning to introduce yourself. Answer the host’s questions starting with Q# or A# to help keep them organized. At the end, there’s often a time to either reintroduce yourself or give a short pitch about what you do, depending on how the chat is organized.

If someone posts something you like, feel free to retweet it and/or respond to them. I have made some good contacts in chats. More than one have turned into assignments for me.

The End
I realize we haven’t even really scratched the tip of the iceberg, as it were, when it comes to Twitter. If you have questions, respond to any of these posts, leave me a message on Facebook (my profile, the Twitter Queen page), Twitter, or e-mail.


Written by Jen Nipps

August 19, 2011 at 2:33 pm

Twitter 101 – Part 1

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Note: This first post assumes you have heard of Twitter but know nothing about it.

You’ve been hearing it often, either on the news, in casual conversation, or in a recommendation from your publisher/editor/agent. Far from being a passing fad, social media or social networking is here to stay and Twitter is a large part of that. But how do you use it and what are some things you really need to know about it?

Welcome to Twitted 101. Stay with me this week and I’ll try to answer a lot of your questions and give you some additional resources for later.

The Basics

In any post on Twitter, you are limited to 140 characters. This includes spaces and punctuation. If you are in a chat, it also includes the tag for that chat (more on that in a minute). If you are replying to someone, it includes their name.

There are a few abbreviations and symbols that are common to Twitter:

@ – The at symbol. This is what goes in front of anyone’s Twitter ID. When you use this symbol, it will show up in their Twitter stream and on their “mentions” page. Depending on how they have their settings, it might even be e-mailed to them.

# – This is a hash mark/hash tag. While it isn’t completely necessary because of Twitter’s improved search function, it is required for chatting. Third-party platforms that host the chats look for “#[topic]” to put the appropriate Tweets together in a chat. (For example, since it’s Monday and I’ll be chatting tonight, I’ll be using the “#journchat” tag.)

RT – “Retweet.” If someone says something you like and you personally copy it, use “RT @[name]” in front of the tweet.

MT – “Modified Tweet.”  If you don’t have quite enough room for the way the original Tweet is phrased, you can edit (modify) it and post it. Use this with caution. It’s easy to change the meaning and intent of someone’s tweet doing this. I don’t recommend it unless it absolutely cannot be avoided.

These are a few Twitter basics. We’ll go a bit more into Twitter on Wednesday in part 2.

Written by Jen Nipps

August 15, 2011 at 7:20 am

Sources for Writers: Journchat

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[Note: This is the first in a new series of Sources for Writers, be they websites, books, stores, etc. If you have a source you’d like to be considered for this feature, please e-mail it to me with “Sources for Writers” as the subject line.]

journchatBefore I tell you about Journchat, I need to tell you about the site where it’s hosted: Twitter.

Twitter is a microblogging/social media platform that limits your posts (called tweets) to 140 characters, including spaces and punctuation.

Sarah Evans (@PRsarahevans) organized and hosts Journcat. Counting last night, there have been five chats so far. Personally, I hope it continues for a long time.

Journchat takes place every Monday evening from 8:00 to 11:00 PM EST/7:00 to 10:00 CST. There are a couple options for participating. You can go to and type “journchat” in the search box. To view newer tweets, you will have to refresh the window frequently. Some better options are to use TweetChat or TweetGrid.

In Tweetchat, you sign in and type “journchat” in the box. It will scroll real-time the tweets as they come in. As I understand TweetGrid, which I have not used myself, you set up a couple columns. Some people set up one column for their own user ID and another for journchat.

The basis of journchat is as a forum for PR pros, journalists, freelance writers, and bloggers to get together to discuss issues within the industry. There is a lot to be learned from one another. Every week, recaps of the chat are posted at

The chat is very fast-paced yet very informative. There were a few yesterday who said that Journchat could be the equivalent of an MBA. It’s definitely (in my opinion) a crash-course in PR and journalism and how the two work together. It has been a great resource for this writer. I think it would be valuable for many others as well.

Join in next week and have fun.

Written by Jen Nipps

January 6, 2009 at 4:19 pm