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Want to host a tweet chat? Build community first

October 29, 2013

By Lori O’Hara-Hoke (@lohokehead shot of Lori O'Hara-Hoke

A teen volunteer, Kealey, asked me to help her organize a tweet chat for a childhood cancer charity. She was helping them with their social media efforts. While she thought a tweet chat would be an interesting idea, she recognized that not many of their members were on Twitter. This brought me to ask the #hcsmca community on October 16.

What are best practices to help a grassroots org have an online discussion and tools to use? How do you create an online community? What tools are best? 

Many thoughts and resources were shared during the #hcsmca chat. You can read the transcript here .

But I decided to do some additional sleuthing and would like to share a list of resources and tools I found to be useful. Please note that this is not meant to be an exhaustive list. Do your research or consult with your favourite social media advisor to find the right tools for the needs of your organization. Content and features of the tools will all change over time.

Resources to Build an Online Community
Richard Millington (@RichMillington) offers the Ultimate List of Resources for how to build an online community. He update this list regularly.

Colleen Young, an avid follower of Rich Millington, also offers online community advice on this blog, some of which is specific to online communities in health. For example

Rachel Happe (@rhappe) and Jim Storer (@jimstorer) founders of The Community Roundtable are also 2 online community sages to follow.

How to Organize a Tweet Chat
A tweetchat is an online gathering or meeting using Twitter and associated tools. Here are a few resources, including 2 from #hcsmca members @AndrewSpong and @Colleen_Young.

There are many tools available to monitor tweet chats and other social media conversations. Here are a few.

Birds on a telephone wire

by theclyde (


To help wade through the Twitter chat management tools, I pulled together these articles and reviews.

Hcsmca’s favorite tool for indexing health-care related tweet chats, generating chat transcripts and analytics is Symplur.

How to organize a tweetup
A tweetup, sometimes called a meetup, is an in-person gathering of like-minded Twitter friends. A tweetup can deepen a sense of community for an existing community or participants to a meetup can help establish an online community.

What are your favorite resources and tools to manage your Twitter community and chats?

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