By Barbara O’Neill, Ph.D., CFP®
Rutgers Cooperative Extension
In early June, as part of the 3-Day Virtual Learning Event (VLE), OneOp (MFLN) held a series of three Twitter chats using the hash tag #MFLNchat. The OneOp VLE information page with archived webinars is located here. The purpose of the Twitter chats was to extend conversations in the “chat” section of the webinars about encouraging positive financial behaviors through motivation, coaching, and counseling.
Prior to the three Twitter chats, a “Lite” Twitter Cohort was held to introduce chat participants to the basics of using Twitter. Each day for two weeks, cohort 36 cohort participants received e-mailed messages about using Twitter. Materials for the cohort are available here. Participants used the hashtag #twittercohort to hold asynchronous conversations with one another.
Twitter chats, on the other hand, involve synchronous conversations. As the number of Twitter users has grown since its inception in 2006, so has the use of Twitter for financial education. An increasingly outreach method is Twitter chats, which use the hashtag (#) symbol to hold a “conversation” through an organized stream of tweets from people interested in the same topic (e.g., credit).
The formatting convention used to organize Twitter chat threads is Q1 for Question 1 and A1 for participant responses to that question, with 8 to 10 different questions per one-hour chat. All users have do is log in to a Twitter application such as Tchat.io or Twubs.com at a designated time and time zone, type in the hashtag for the chat, and start responding to and/or asking questions to engage with others.
The OneOp plans future professional development Twitter chats and encourages Personal Financial Management Program (PFMP) staff to participate. Feel free to “lurk” for a while, if you’d like, and then jump in. Another good idea is to observe, and then participate in, these regular personal finance Twitter chats: #creditchat (Experian, 3 p.m. ET on Wednesdays), #wbchat (WiseBread, 3 p.m. ET on Thursdays), #cashchat (@MsMadamMoney, 12 noon ET on Fridays), and #mcchat (Money Crashers, 4 p.m. ET on Fridays).
Below are some screen shots that further explain how to navigate a Twitter chat:
- Go to as http://www.tchat.io/
- In the top, right corner click on “Sign In”
- If you are already logged into your Twitter account, this box will prompt you to “Authorize TweetChat…to use your account”. You then click on “Authorize App”
- If not it will ask you to log into your Twitter account. Log in with your Twitter handle and password.
- Then, in the top left hand corner, type in the hashtag you are following and then press, “Go”
- Experian Tweetchat’s hashtag is “#CreditChat”
- Wisebread Tweetchat’s hashtag is “#WBchat”
- You will then be taken to a stream of Tweets, only with the hashtag you typed in during the last step.
- You can then Tweet or Retweet whatever you wish, and the http://www.tchat.io/ application will add the hashtag on for you so that you too can join the conversation!
Use these icons when you are tweeting:
This allows you to Tweet at, or respond to, someone directly.
This allows you to ReTweet someone else’s tweet; i.e., send it to your Twitter followers.
This allows you to Favorite someone’s Tweet; i.e., indicate that you like what they have shared. (Note: This function is now represented by a heart instead of a star.)
Happy tweeting! I hope to see you on a personal finance Twitter chat soon.