Last week we joined the North Carolinians for a Tobacco-Free Generation (NCTFG) “Twitter Chat”. Honestly, it was a great way to start the new year and get us pumped for upcoming commercial tobacco use prevention and cessation policy work. NCTFG uses Twitter and Facebook to educate the public and decision-makers on the harms of tobacco and secondhand smoke as well as effective policies and programs to reduce tobacco’s harm. If you aren’t following NCTFG, make sure you follow, like, comment, share, and all the other things the young, hip people do on social media.
January’s chat produced a lot of great resources and we’ll share those at the end of the blog. We are looking forward to monthly Twitter chats with NCTFG and obviously, we want you to join in! (Why else would we be writing this post?!) So here’s a quick guide for participating in a Twitter chat:
- Not to be Captain Obvious, but, to participate in a Twitter chat, you have to have a Twitter account. If you want your tweet replies to the chat to be seen by everyone, your Twitter has to be public or, only your followers will see your tweets.
- Every Twitter chat has a hashtag, which allows anyone on Twitter to follow the chat or even participate. The hashtag that NCTFG is using for Twitter chats is #LetsTalkTobacco. You can easily find all the tweets from this first chat and upcoming chats by searching #LetsTalkTobacco in the Twitter search bar. The hashtag is also the best way to follow the conversation. Once you search the hashtag, you can click on “latest” in the search results and see the conversation in real time.
- NCTFG announces the chat topic and questions at least a week in advance on Twitter. That way people can mark their calendars, think about the topic, and think about their replies. Some people even go ahead and compose their replies so they’re ready when it’s time to chat. Some people reply off the cuff, which is also great.
- Here’s how a chat typically works: There are numbered questions. The hostwill ask questions by number (Q1, Q2, etc.). You tag your answers with A1, A2, etc. AND the chat hashtag. (if you answer Q1, use A1 in your answer and if you’re participating in an NCTFG chat the hashtag is #LetsTalkTobacco). Some people like to comment on the actual question tweet. Some people like to answer on a new tweet (which is why numbering your answer and using the hashtag is important). And some people like to retweet the question and quote with their answer. As long as you use the hashtag, it’ll all be part of the chat!
- The chat can seem like it’s going fast, especially the first time you participate in one. It’s ok. Don’t stress about keeping up. Don’t worry about answering all the questions if you don’t want to. Think of it as a casual conversation among friends. You can also go back any time and reply to a question. The Twitter chat never actually ends. It may wrap up after the final question but the conversation can go on forever.
A big thanks to our partners who joined January’s chat: Poe Center, Tobacco-Free Mecklenburg, Noah Lenstra, and Ann Staples. Follow them on Twitter!
The next #LetsTalkTobacco Twitter chat is on Wednesday, February 16, at 3:00pm. Here’s a sneak peek at the questions:
- What strategies work for commercial tobacco use prevention?
- What strategies work for commercial tobacco use cessation?
- How is commercial tobacco a social justice issue?
- How can we ensure that no person-regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age-is exposed to the harms of commercial tobacco?
Resources shared during January’s #LetsTalkTobacco Twitter Chat:
- QuitlineNC or 1-800-Quit-Now – also found at http://Quitlinenc.com is an excellent resource to help people quit any tobacco product! Free quit coaching and Nicotine Replacement Therapy!
- Teens and young adults can quit vaping with help from Truth Initiative’s DITCHVAPE service by texting DITCHVAPE to 88709. They will find support and resources.
- Across NC public libraries are a “community-level resource to advance population health.”
- Live Vape Free is a program aimed at young people. NC youth who need help quitting vaping can register here.
- How to Use the Vaping and Juuling Trend to Teach Media Literacy
- Vaping Discussion Guide for Parents and Teens
- THE FACTS on e-cigarette use among youth and young adults
- Where There’s Smoke, There’s Fire: Libraries respond to the vaping health crisis