Well, let's just say that #platformchat has been in Beta. I tried it a couple of times without really thinking ahead too much about what I was doing. And sometimes it went well and was exciting and easy. And other times, I actually had the thought, "Oh dear God, what have I done?"
After some reflection, I realized that this chat is like everything writers do. If you don't take charge of it, clarify what you doing, and ask for what you hope for, then you are stuck with what you get. And if you don't like the results, well, what did you expect? You will get back exactly what you put out.
So, from here on out, #platformchat has a description, rules, and guest panelists. And anyone who has a problem with the description, the rules or me, should...I don't know, find something else to do, I guess.
I'm an author and a teacher, and my intention in starting #platformchat was that it would like a quickie helpdesk for those who are platform-ready. It's okay to come and watch. Nobody says you have to jump into the fray. But expect a certain amount of intensity as people can get kind of frustrated when it comes to platform development.
And who can blame them? There isn't a ton of good clear information out there on the topic. That's what #platformchat is for: getting answers to your platform questions (all in short form, of course).
What Is #platformchat?
- The length of the chat is one hour. So only the quick and the brave should expect to get their questions answered.
- There will be a focus topic each week that we will keep circling back to (because I'm a teacher and I'm not about to pass up a "teaching moment").
Who will like #platformchat?
- Anyone who is ready to work on their writer platform. Anyone who is not yet working on their platform but is willing to start working on it. Anyone who is already working a platform but has questions. Anyone who is thinking about platform but is confused about what the heck platform is.
What's the format of #platformchat?
- Christina Katz is the host of #platformchat (that's me). I will invite three guests to speak to participants questions. I will also answer questions. You can expect my responses to be fairly prescriptive because I'm a how-to author. But I'm sure my guests will be much more tactful.
- The guests will be introduced in the first five-ten minutes of the chat. This is about as close to a panel discussion format as you can get on Twitter. Thanks for being respectful towards our guests.
- When time is up, the chat is over. People are busy and I don't want to hold anybody up from everything else they have to do. If you don't get your questions answered during the hour, feel free to send me a tweet either privately or openly, but leave the #platformchat tag off. Otherwise our "hour" will last forever.
When is #platformchat?
- The discussion takes place each Friday morning from 11 a.m. - noon Pacific Time (which is 12 MT, 1 CT, and 2 ET). I hope that's a convenient time for the summer. We'll revisit the time slot in the fall.
Where is #platformchat?
- We're on Twitter, so if you want to participate, you'll need to be on Twitter too. You'll also want to follow me. On Twitter, I'm @thewritermama. If you follow me, I'll follow you.
- You can direct your questions to me, to everyone, or to a specific person on the panel, but please always use the hash tag #platformchat so everyone can follow the stream of conversation.
- To see an example of a hashtag stream, go to www.hashtags.org and type in platformchat. You'll see our last chat in reverse order. Scroll back in time and read it going forward, if you have the patience for that kind of thing. Otherwise just show up next time and join in.
- There is no membership, cost, or any other kind of commitment you make by showing up for #platformchat. Don't feel like you have to apologize if you can't make it. I realize that everyone won't come every time. You don't even need to RSVP. Just show up!
How do I follow #platformchat?
- Okay, this part is not perfect. Okay, actually, no part of this is perfect, so let's just do the best we can. I welcome any input on how you follow chats, if you have better methods than what you see here:
- Download Adobe Tweetdeck. It's free and it allows you to display multiple columns like "All Friends," "Replies," "Direct Messages," etc. Search for platformchat to follow along with the group discussion, while also fielding tweets aimed just at you, etc.There are often delays on Tweetdeck but it's the easiest way to create a column on your screen. If it seems stuck, just relaunch it. That's what I do.
- If you prefer to go old-school, it might actually keep up better. From your Twitter "home" page, search for "#platformchat." You'll likely have to keep refreshing to see the latest tweets.
- Other ideas? I'm all ears.
Why are you hosting #platformchat?
- I know a bit about platform after speaking and writing on the topic for the past several years. I have been working closely with writers on platform development in addition to growing my own over the past decade. What I bring to the table is insight into what it's actually like for writers to grow a platform, from the writer's point of view, as opposed to the nice, neat tidy picture everyone hopes to create in the end.
- Make no mistake, it takes a lot of time and energy for writers to create a strong, book-ready platform. I hope to save folks a lot of time, energy, and frustration in getting from where they are to where they'd like to be platform-wise.
- I also wrote a book on the topic for Writer's Digest called, Get Known Before the Book Deal, Use Your Personal Strengths to Grow an Author Platform. Anyone who has read it is welcome to bring his or her questions to #platformchat.
- Keep in mind that this chat is not going to replace all the due diligence you really need to do BEFORE you launch your platform, but we will answer a bunch of questions, for sure.
A couple of requests:
- Please don't come to #platformchat with the expectation that we will all be off to visit your websites and blogs and will give you an instant evaluation. That's beyond the scope of our chat. The conversation needs to stay in the chat, since we have limited time. If you have a platform going already, please be prepared to describe it and you in 140 characters or less, so you can bring us all quickly up to speed.
- Be prepared to be asked questions. This is actually helpful for everyone, including you. If I am not "getting" your platform from what you say during the chat, I will keep asking you questions until we all get it. (If you don't want to be asked questions, you don't have to answer. It's always your choice how much you want to participate.)
- Finally, if you have feedback about the chat, please save it for after our hour is up. An hour isn't much time and I'm sure that the folks who come with questions will appreciate it if we stay on topic.
- If you have constructive suggestions, please e-mail me at christina katz at earthlink dot net.
Hope to see you Friday at 11 a.m. Pacific Time for the next #platformchat!