Recently a question came to mind as I sort of ‘crashed’ a Twitter/Tweet Chat with a random comment on one question I couldn’t pass up in the stream. It made me wonder, “Am I doing this chat thing right?’ Is there a ‘right’ way to do it? And, more important, are there some unspoken ‘Rules of Twitter-chat Etiquette’ that I may be ignoring? And I figure if I have a question about it, chances are others do too.

We have all learned some general principles of participation and behavior in social networks. Back in January, our guest Merlin U. Ward joined us to explore ‘You Have to Give to Get.’ It’s a solid philosophy that states that we receive back what we give. And maybe more.

Participating in social networks as individuals or as brands (with a lot at stake) boils down to return on investment of time and resources. While we all, at some level, understand that everyone is here to ‘get something’, it’s true that most of us approach the process with an attitude of genuine community. That we each have something to contribute, and everyone’s contribution is important to the value of the whole. And that when we give selflessly, the return is that much more valuable.

And so it goes with Twitter Chats. Chats run the gamut from being community/group centered to platforms for brand discussions and promotion. Regardless of the existential purpose for the chat, the community adheres to (sometimes unspoken) guidelines for comportment, good taste and manners.

Q1) Is it frowned upon to comment on a random chat question you see in your stream?

Q2) Is it okay to be familiar with other attendees, using first names, asking questions of them?

Q3) As a contributor to a community, do we have an obligation to attend chats regularly?

Q4) The point of many chats is to debate topics. How does one politely disagree in 140 or less?

Q5) If it goes there, how does one end a contentious exchange politely?

Bonus Q6) What is the moderator’s role in monitoring convos, especially attendees’ behavior?

Image credit: