What is #bfcafe? #bfcafe is the hashtag used on Twitter for the weekly breastfeeding chat where you will find me playing hostess.
Woah, woah wait. Hashtag? Twitter? WHAT? Let me back up. To use Twitter, you’ll need to sign up and get yourself a username. Keep it short, messages are limited to 140 characters, and when people are talking to you, they’ll have to include your username in that 140 characters. Hashtags are key words or phrases you would use. They help categorize tweets and make it easier to follow conversation. To use a hashtag you just use the pound symbol (#) and the phrase, in this case, #bfcafe.
So I have a Twitter username and I am ready to start. Now what? Jump on in! Find the best way to use Twitter for yourself. You can use their web interface or you can use an app. My favorite is TweetDeck because it makes it easy to use multiple accounts and save searches and my account links my desktop app with the Android app on my phone. As you tweet, Twitter will suggest people to follow, and you’ll get to see who the people you interact with are interacting with. That’s how you’ll grow your ‘network’. One thing to keep in mind is that on Twitter you follow someone, so you are reading their info. They do not have to follow you back. It’s not a reciprocal thing. Though usually once you’re engaging and conversing with someone they will follow you back.
So how does this chat thing work? To take part in a chat it is usually recommended that you are following the host/hostess of the chat. It makes it easier to see what the main topic actually is. Some people find web interfaces, such as TweetChat or TweetGrid helpful. I sort my Tweets using my columns in TweetDeck. Or you can go basic and use the Twitter search function. The key is that you have some sort of search for the hashtag for the chat, so you can see all the tweets marked with that tag. In our case you would be looking for tweets marked with #bfcafe.
So I have an account, and an app, and a search. How do I jump in? Just talk. Answer questions, have a conversation, but be sure to use the #bfcafe tag on the end of your Tweet. Is someone talking about their plugged duct, the baby’s growth spurt, or the lovely vacation they are on? You have something to add to the conversation, so you want to join in. If you’re talking TO someone, you would use the at symbol (@) before their username. So if you wanted to talk to me, you’d start with @Stylin_Momma. Maybe it would look like this: @Stylin_Momma I had plugged ducts with my first baby. I learned that I can not sleep on my stomach. Bummer. #bfcafe And you can always just send a tweet in general. Here’s an example of a tweet by me -
Ok, I think I get it. So now what? When you’re ready, our official chat is on Thursdays at 10 PM Eastern Time. Some weeks we’ll take questions and some weeks I’ll have a prepared topic. Depends on what it seems the group needs (or how crazy my week is). Join us, jump in, introduce yourself (or don’t). But don’t be afraid to join in. We would love to have you join us!
Do you have questions? Is there something I missed or skimmed over that I should go into more detail on? Let me know in the comments! I am happy to help!