So you're thinking of hosting a #CanvasChat? I've got great news for you: It's fun, and it's easy. What could be better than that? I'll tell you what's better: If you use TweetDeck or HootSuite to manage your Twitter chat--why, it practically hosts itself!
Whether you prefer TweetDeck or HootSuite, either way, we've already got a handy spreadsheet of tweets with times for each tweet listed in MST along with the recommended text (under 140 characters, of course) for each one. So plan on devoting most of your creative energies to: (1) brainstorming your topic, (2) finding a relevant Community resource to kick off the chat (that will be Q0), (3) writing the three central questions that relate to your topic, (4) writing a response to each of those three questions, forming the core of the chat. When you look at the spreadsheet, you'll see some yellow highlighted rows, and those are the only ones you need to customize; all of the other tweets are already scripted and Twitter-ready.
After you've created your tweets, you'll turn to TweetDeck or HootSuite to set up the TwitterChat by creating pre-scheduled tweets incorporating each question in an image format. Make a copy of this template, and use it to create the images that will accompany each question tweet. And after you've customized the template, and have four images containing Q0, Q1, Q2, and Q3, you're ready to automate your #CanvasChat. You'll devote the rest of your prep time (and very little of your brainpower) to copying-and-pasting text from the spreadsheet and scheduling the tweets in TweetDeck or HootSuite.
I've outlined the steps to set up these applications, along with guide links for each platform. Of course, once you've created your account in either TweetDeck or HootSuite, you can skip Step 1 for your future #CanvasChats--and now that you know how easy and fun it is, I'll bet you'll host lots of them!.
|Step||TweetDeck how-to links||HootSuite how-to links||Comments|
|1. Create your account||Getting started with TweetDeck | Twitter Help Center||Quick start guide – Hootsuite Help Center||Don't have a Twitter account? Start here: Signing up with Twitter | Twitter Help Center|
|2. Set up your feed(s)||TweetDeck columns | Twitter Help Center||Add streams – Hootsuite Help Center||TweetDeck is exclusively for Twitter feeds. HootSuite accommodates other social networks.|
|3. Schedule your tweets||TweetDeck pro tips | Twitter Help Center||Schedule messages – Hootsuite Help Center||Both platforms allow you to compose your tweets and schedule their release ahead of time.|
|4. Sit back, and wait for your event||Enjoy this musical interlude|
|5. Be at your desktop computer or laptop 15 minutes before the start time||Launch TweetDeck||Launch HootSuite||You can interact in the chat directly in Twitter or through either of the scheduling platforms.|
|6. Follow the #CanvasChat hashtag and interact as you wish--or sit back and enjoy the show!||n/a||n/a||If you compose a new tweet "on the fly," remember to include the #CanvasChat hashtag|
|7. Work with your CanvasLIVE chat facilitator to create a chat transcript||n/a||n/a||After your event ends, you'll post this in the comments section of your event.|