6 Tips for Your First Twitter Chat

Posted by Bridget Shirvell, Audience Engagement Specialist, PBS NewsHour on


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PBS NewsHour hosts a weekly Twitter chat, drawing countless tweeters from all over the twittersphere. In this week's post, Bridget shares her top tips for anyone looking to host their own Twitter chat.

What top tips would you give a local station that's looking to host a successful Twitter chat?

1. Pick a timely topic or one that there is always lots of discussions around (for example, birth order). 

2. Set up chat partnerships. I’ve partnered with the Urban Institute and the Mayo Clinic. Joint hosting a chat takes some of the pressure off and expands your audience.

3. Draft a chat script. Not just the questions you will ask, but also opening and closing tweets and responses to possible tweets and questions. 

4. Vary the topics. If one week you do something science-related, do something arts the next week. You’ll get a bigger audience.

5. Respond to everyone. Acknowledge everyone that takes the time out of their day to participate either by responding directly to their tweet, favoring their tweet, or retweeting them.

6. Have fun with the chats. They don’t all have to be serious. One of our most popular chats was one with author Brian Jay Jones, who answered questions about the Muppets

By Bridget Shirvell | Audience Engagement Specialist | PBS NewsHour


Bridget is the Audience Engagement Specialist at PBS NewsHour. Before that, she was honing her social media and local reporting skills at AOL’s Patch. Even though she loves social media, she’s committed to spending at least one week unconnected before she turns 30.

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