Planning and moderating a Twitter chat

by jamielawlor716

ImageDuring December’s PRSSA Twitter chat, I connected with Brianna Rooney, the historian and director of alumni relations for Temple University’s PRSSA. PRSSA-UD has been discussing collaborating with other PRSSA chapters in the region and Temple was one that we planned on reaching out to. So when Brianna suggested that we get together to plan a Twitter chat for both of our chapters, I jumped at the idea.

Twitter chats are an awesome way to make connections with peers and colleagues and that’s what public relations is all about, right? I like to think of them as networking events in your pajamas. And really, what could be better than that?

Brianna and I discovered that we only live a quick 20-minute drive from each other so we decided to meet up over winter break to plan the chat for our chapters.

Planning the chat

Brianna and I met at the Panera near us and after a good hour of chatting about everything from public relations to study abroad to PRSSA and more, we got started on planning the chat. The process went something like this:

  1. Deciding on a topic – we chose PRSSA experiences (why you joined, what you’ve liked from PRSSA, what you hope to see in the future, etc.)
  2. Choosing a hashtag — #TUDPRSSA combined Temple University/University of Delaware and PRSSA
  3. Coming up with questions – we came up with 7 questions and strategically ordered them to enhance the flow of conversation
  4. Figuring out how we’d ask the questions – Since both Temple and UD were hosting, we decided the @PRSSA_UD and @TemplePRSSA would switch off asking the questions

Brianna and I left Panera super excited and ready to start promoting the chat to our chapters and other PRSSA members around the country. Through a week of tweets and emails, we successfully spread the word and I felt ready to moderate my first Twitter chat.

Moderating the chat

As 8:00 p.m. approached, I began feeling anxious about moderating. What if no one participated? Or what if so many people participated that I couldn’t keep up? When the clock struck 8, I dove in head first and hoped for the best. With around 20 participants, I was ecstatic with the turnout and the discussions that took place. I won’t lie – it was pretty overwhelming seeing the tweets pour in from the standpoint of a moderator. I used tweetchat.com and new tweets were filing in so quickly that it was difficult to even read. But I asked my questions when the time came and retweeted and replied when appropriate and overall, I was thrilled with the outcome!Image

And the best part? #TUDPRSSA was trending in Philadelphia!

The chat proved very successful as participants not only offered great answers to the questions, but also interacted with one another. We had participants from both Temple and UD, from other chapters around the country, and even a few alumni/professionals working in the field. The discussion fostered an appreciation for PRSSA and provided executive board members with ideas for future events to best benefit our members.

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Something I’m particularly hoping we can pull together from this chat? This great idea from Temple PRSSA president, Mackenzie Krott.

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To see some more highlights from the #TUDPRSSA Twitter chat, check out this Storify that I put together. With the success of the first chat, Temple and UD hope to host more in the future and continue to watch its growth!

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