While you can easily find mentions for a particular hashtag (#) from within your Twitter account, it isn’t the best technique for joining in on the conversations surrounding the topic you’re trying to follow. Instead, it’s best to use a platform designed for a user to both follow a particular conversation as well as join in with their own responses and tweets.
There are several different platforms that have been developed to target different needs of Twitter users. For example, some fabulous platforms such as Monittor, HootSuite, and TwitterFall, allow users to follow and monitor conversations on a particular topic, @user, or #hashtag. However, when it comes to joining in on a Twitter Party, the idea is for interaction between different @users using a particular #hashtag. With that being said, two conversation tracker and starter platforms are great tools to use for Twitter Parties – and standout in my opinion: TweetChat and TweetGrid.
Take a look at the following screenshot I pulled up for author Laura Navarre‘s Twitter party if we were to use TweetChat.
- TweetChat is very streamlined. It essentially eliminates all other distractional clutter and leaves the tweeter with following just the hashtag conversation.
- Adds the fabulous bonus of tacking on the hashtag into the conversation – without tweeter prompting! This is extremely important because if you forget to add a hashtag to the end of your conversation tweet, people following the chat (including the host and sponsors) may not see what you added to the conversation.
- TweetChat auto-updates. This is handy because it eliminates the need for constant refreshing of your browser.
- You can reply, retweet, favorite, ect., just like you could normally in Twitter.
Using Laura’s Twitter party as an example again, you can see a whole different platform for following a Twitter hashtag. While it may look confusing and slightly overwhelming at first, TweetGrid opens up the Twitter-sphere ‘blinders’ so-to-speak, by allowing the tweeter to follow more than just the hashtag; which can have some serious benefits.
- You do not need a Twitter account to follow a hastag conversation, or search for a topic or event. However, you will need a Twitter account if you would like to tweet or participate in the conversation.
- TweetGrid has a “Hashtag box” that you simply enter the hashtag you would like to have automatically appended to the end of your conversation.
- You can tweet right from within TweetGrid and the conversation is auto-updated.
- You have the option to follow important Twitter handles (host, sponsor, etc.) participating in the Twitter party.
- You can receive and send direct messages (DM) right from within TweetGrid!
- You can tailor the layout grid to meet your individual needs. For example, the example I’m using is with a 1×3 grid, but you can have a 1×1, 2×3, or 3×3 – and other choices to choose from!
- You can create a TweetGrid with your specifications and share it using the full web address to your ‘grid’, a shortened version of the web address, or tweet your grid address.
In the previous example, you see a 1×3 grid, in which each column contains different pertinent information.
- The first column contains following the designated hashtag (in this case #LauraNavarre). Obviously, this allows you to follow the entire conversation much like TweetChat would.
- The second column is set up to follow the host and sponsor Twitter handle conversations (in this case @LauraNavarre and @lit_connect). You can add as many Twitter handles as you want, however, I’m sure you can understand that this can create an issue if you were to add too many. The benefits of following the host and sponsor Twitter handles is that it allows for you to still see the conversations if/when a hashtag has been forgotten, you need to go back to something the host or sponsor said, or if by some unfortunate circumstance, Twitter fails and drops the host, you can still be able to see the other main party conductors.
- The last column is for your own Twitter handle. This allows for you to watch if people have directed a conversation at you, etc.
Being the aesthetic-pleasing girl that I am, I have to say that I love the look and feel of TweetChat. But the realist in me thinks that TweetGrid offers up some serious benefits to Twitter party users. TweetGrid makes it super easy to follow a hashtag (or up to nine at a time), follow hosts, sponsors, and other Twitter party conductors, all while giving you the added benefit of easy tweeting and following in real time. I think the final question is to ask, what type of Twitter party follower are you? Do you just want to watch a hashtag conversation keep auto-updating and that’s it, or are you a doer and a participator? The former user may find TweetChat to be beneficial, while the later my enjoy the added functions of TweetGrid. But if you’re a host or a sponsor, I would recommend using TweetGrid with no hesitation.