To create a new chat, first sign in and then click on the Create Chat link in the header. Enter a chat name and a start time, and press the "Create Chat" button.
Chats will automatically start at the date and time specified when the chat was created. However you can manually start the chat prior to this time. You can also choose to Open the Message Queue prior to the start of the chat, allowing users to submit questions before the chat begins.
YES, you can create JotCast chats for free with our Basic plan. This will limit the number of users who can enter your chats, as well as the number of reader minutes you can use per monthly billing cycle.
You can upgrade your service level at any time if you wish to increase your monthly limits.
Reader Minutes represent the total amount of time your users can spend in your chats per monthly billing cycle. For example, if 100 users join your chat for 5 minutes, then 500 reader minutes will be deducted from your account.
Basic (free) account are allotted 1,000 reader minutes per billing cycle, while Professional accounts have 200,000. Non-Basic accounts can exceed their reader minute allotment, but will be charged an additional amount for extra minutes based on their service level pricing.
You can also configure monthly spending limits in the Account Overview section.
After you create a chat you will be given HTML code that you can place directly onto your website. You can use the provided HTML code to include the chat anywhere on your site, or link directly to ours!
If you know the username of your readers, you can have it automatically set for them in the chat by making a slight modification to our embed code.
If you're embedding the chat into your website, you'll need to make a small change to the src parameter of your chat's embed code. Let's use the embed code for our Theme Configuration chat as an example.
The src parameter to embed this chat is https://www.jotcast.com/embed/chat/theme-configuration-3159.js. If we want to embed this chat for a user named John Smith, we'd instead use the following URL: https://www.jotcast.com/embed/chat/theme-configuration-3159.js?externalUsername=John%20Smith. You can see the updated embed code below:
Embedding as a link
If you're linking to a chat from your website, you'll need to make a small change to the href parameter of your chat's embed code. Let's use the embed code for our Theme Configuration chat as an example.
href="https://www.jotcast.com/chat/theme-configuration-3159.html" target="_blank">Click here to join Theme Configuration
The href parameter to link to this chat is https://www.jotcast.com/chat/theme-configuration-3159.html. If we want to link to this chat for a user named John Smith, we'd instead use the following URL: https://www.jotcast.com/chat/theme-configuration-3159.html?externalUsername=John%20Smith. You can see the updated embed code below:
href="https://www.jotcast.com/chat/theme-configuration-3159.html?externalUsername=John%20Smith" target="_blank">Click here to join Theme ConfigurationConfiguring the username display type
You can also configure how an external username should be displayed. There are three different modes supported, outlined below.
- DEFAULT: This is the default display mode. The username will be pre-populated into the username textbox. The user will be able to change their alias, if they desire.
- FIXED: The user's alias will be displayed, but cannot be changed.
- HIDDEN: The user's alias will not be displayed and it cannot be changed.
Display mode can be configured by simply passing an additional variable. Here is our sample embed code with display mode set to Fixed:
And here is our direct link code with Fixed display mode:
href="https://www.jotcast.com/chat/theme-configuration-3159.html?externalUsername=John%20Smith&usernameDisplayMode=fixed" target="_blank">Click here to join Theme Configuration
Please note that the display mode parameter is case insensitive.
You can add additional moderators to your chat by going to My Chats and clicking on the moderators icon next to the chat. From here you can search for other registered users by their email address to add them as a moderator.
The number of moderators you can add to each chat will depend on your Service Level.
A subscriber is a user who has requested to be notified when you host a chat. They'll be emailed immediately when you start an unscheduled chat, and they'll be notified of upcoming scheduled chats 15 minutes prior to the start time. Subscribers are a great way to drive traffic to your chats.
A user can become a subscriber in one of two ways:
1) Users can subscribe by using the bell icon while they are in one of your chats.
2) Users can subscribe to your chats via your unique subscriber link. From your Account Overview page, click the "Copy subscriber link". This will copy your unique link to your device's clipboard. You can now share this link via social media, your personal website, etc.
You can publish or reject a moderator queue message by clicking on the and buttons.
Published and rejected messages do not appear in the Community Discussion board after the chat ends. It is also possible to delete messages after they've been published, and publish rejected messages.
You can block/unblock users from a moderator queue message by pressing the / buttons. This will prevent the user from submitting additional messages to the queue, but the user will not be notified that they have been blocked.
When a user is blocked, the block button will appear enabled for all messages that were sent by the user, for all moderators.
You can block users by IP address from the My Blacklist page of the My Account section.
In the moderator queue, a user's IP address can be found by clicking on the IP image located next to the user's name. This will reveal a user's IP address. Copy this IP address, and paste it into the form on the My Blacklist page. You can choose to add any notes as to why this user is being blocked, and select the length of time for this ban. This will block the user from sending any messages into any of your chats for the selected length of time. You can also choose to manually remove this ban at any time.
If you are using linked accounts, any IP addresses which are blacklisted by the master account will also be blacklisted from all chats created by accounts that are linked to yours.
Please note: Many users on the same network (i.e. in an office or dormitory) will share a single IP address. Blacklisting an IP address may result in blocking other users as well. This feature should be used with caution.
You can edit a moderator queue message by pressing the button.
You can also edit messages that have already been published by hovering over the message in the chat area, and then pressing the button.
You can disable and re-enable message moderation at any time while the chat is running. In the moderator panel, simply toggle whichever setting you would like for "Moderate User Messages".
If moderation is turned off, all moderator and user messages will be published into the chat instantly. Otherwise, messages from users will need to be manually approved by a moderator before being published in the chat.
In addition to text messages, users and moderators can add images or YouTube videos to the chat. Just enter the URL to your video or image as part of your message, and the media will be automatically imported and displayed.
To include Twitter messages in your chat, you can simply paste the URL of the tweet (i.e. https://twitter.com/OfficialJotcast/status/643258989082476544) into a message in your chat, and we'll automatically import the tweet for you.
For more advanced tweet curation, you can sync your Twitter account by selecting the Twitter messages tab from the moderator panel. You can then use the Twitter messages tab to search for any Twitter @user, #hashTag, or phrase. Just click the publish icon to add results to the chat.
You sure can! You can either import tweets from specific users into the Twitter messages tab for you to publish, or you can have the tweets automatically published into the chat.
Just go to the Auto-Import tab in the settings menu, type in a Twitter Handle and hit the Add User button. At any point you can modify whether you track Retweets and/or Media, and also if you want tweets automatically published. If you do not automatically publish tweets, results will be visible by selecting the "Imported Messages" option within the Twitter messages tab.
To create a poll, simply use the polls tab in the Moderator's panel. Once the poll is added into the chat, the results are updated in real-time. You can end the poll at any time you choose.
If you want to save a message to publish later, you can click on the / icons to "star" the message. All starred messages will appear in the normal message queue, as well as the Starred messages tab.
You make a user a "trustee" by toggling the / button on a message they have submitted. This will allow the user to send messages that are automatically added to the chat without having to be published by a moderator.
This can be used for guest speakers that you don't want to have full moderator access, or known users that you trust will provide valuable content.
Moderators can initiate a private conversation with another moderator or a regular user by clicking the private message button next to a user's name. If the user is not currently online, the message will automatically pop up next time they enter the chat.
Moderators can also end conversations with regular users. Just click the off button End Conversation and confirm to end your conversation. The user will be unable to send you further messages, unless you re-initiate the conversation by sending them additional messages.
Moderators can add a pinned message by clicking the pushpin icon , located near the "Send" button in the moderator panel.
Clicking the icon will launch a modal that allows you to add or edit a pinned message. After typing your message and saving it, the message will appear above the chat area for all users and moderators. While this message can be closed, it will reappear whenever the message is changed.
Moderators can assign labels to messages, and then use the Labels tab to filter messages assigned to each label. Labels are synchronized for all moderators, making them a great way to organize your content.
In the Settings tab of the moderator panel, create as many labels as you'd like, choosing a unique color and title for each label.
After your labels are created, you can assign labels to messages by using the button below each message in the queue. Messages can have as many different labels as you'd like.
Finally, use the Labels tab to filter for messages that have been assigned to this label.
Responding directly to messages offers many benefits to both moderators and users. When a moderator begins responding to a message that is in the message queue, all other moderators will be notified. This helps to enhance the communication between multiple moderators.
Additionally, when moderators choose to respond to an already published message, both moderators and users will be notified, resulting in a more interactive experience for your readers.
Finally, a message and its replies are grouped together, making it easy for readers to understand when a message is in response to their own. Replies can only be added to top-level messages - in other words, you can't reply to a reply.
Moderators can respond directly to a message by using thedirect reply button. For messages that are already published, just hover over the message you'd like to reply to, and the message options overlay will be displayed. From there, click the direct reply button, and enter your message into the textarea that appears. Click send, and you're done!
Yes! When creating a chat first select "Schedule Chat" for the start time. You will then be able to select how often and when the chat repeats from the recurrence dropdown.
You can have chats repeat every day, weekday or weekend, day of week, date of the month, etc.
You can also manage all of your reoccurring chats by going to My Chat Recurrences.
Themes allow you to customize the look and feel of your chat.
To get started, you'll first need to create a theme. Visit your My Themes page and click the button to begin creating a new theme.
You'll be given the option to customize many aspects of the chat style. You can update as many or as few of these aspects as you'd like. As you make changes, you'll be able to see a preview of them instantly in the chat included on the form. Once you're satisfied, click the button to create the theme.
Finally, you'll need to associate this theme with your chats. When creating or editing a chat, simply select the appropriate theme in the drop down.
After your theme has been added to the chat, you're all done! Any style changes you've made will be automatically applied to your chat.
A brand is a small icon that represents your website. If you associate your brand to a chat, it will appear in the top left corner of any chats that are not embedded into your website. This will allow users to easily return to your website if they've left it to join your chat.
First, you'll need to create a brand. Visit your My Brands page and click the button to begin creating a brand.
You'll be prompted to enter a name for this brand, along with the redirect URL and a URL to your icon. After you've entered the URL, your image should display on the form. Icons larger than 32x32 pixels will be automatically resized. If your icon is displaying correctly, click the button to create your brand.
Finally, you can associate this brand with your chats. When creating or editing a chat, simply select the appropriate brand in the drop down.
You can configure avatars to appear beside your name through our website. Visit your My Avatars page and click the button to begin creating an avatar.
You can add by uploading an image from your device. After you've selected an image, use the cropper tool to select the portion of the image you'd like to use as your avatar. Then, simply click the Create Avatar button and your avatar will be created.
Finally, you'll be redirected back to your My Avatars page. From here, you can view all of your avatars and choose which one you'd like to use as your default.
The first step is to create one or more advertisements. Visit your My Advertisements page and click the button to begin creating an advertisement.
You'll be prompted to enter a name for this advertisement, in addition to the width and height. You'll have two options for adding the content: URL* or HTML. If you're going to be displaying third party advertisements, it's highly recommended that you use the URL option. You should create a URL on your website which includes the third party advertisement code, and then enter this URL into the form.
After you've created your advertisement, you'll be able to view a sample in both Desktop and Mobile view. Please ensure your advertisement is displaying correctly in both views! If it is not, it likely will not work properly in the chat.
Now it's time to add your advertisement(s) to your chat. When creating or editing a chat, there is an option to include up to three advertisements, with three different display options: at the start of the chat, at the end of the chat, or between messages. Choose the options that you prefer, click the button to create or update your chat, and you're all set!
*Please note that for URL advertisements, SSL is required.
Mentions are an easy way to configure links to your or other websites using keywords, which you can then input into your chat. For example, you could create a mention to Google and then insert it into a chat by typing the @ symbol followed by a "G" in the message area, which will then show you a list of all mentions starting with that letter. You may be familiar with this feature from sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
Mentions can only be configured by uploading a JSON file of key-value pairs in the Chat Mentions section, with the key being a keyword and the value being a URL. Once a mentions file has been uploaded you can select it from the Mentions dropdown when creating new chats.
Click here to view a sample mentions file.
Reactions are emoticon responses that users can add to a published message, promoting user interaction and letting them express themselves.
Users can add a reaction by hovering over a message and clicking on the reaction button. If a reaction has already been added to a message, users can click on the existing reaction to increase the reaction count. Hovering over a reaction will show how many users have added that reaction.
In order to enable reactions, you must set the Reactions option to On when the chat is first created. You cannot change this option after the chat is created.
The "peanut gallery" lets users unobtrusively comment on published messages in a forum-like thread , without affecting the main chat flow.
Users can add a peanut gallery comment by hovering over a message and clicking on the peanut gallery button. If a user has already submitted a peanut gallery comment then the icon will also display below the message, along with a count showing the number of comments.
In order to enable the peanut gallery, you must set the Peanut Gallery option to On when the chat is first created. You cannot change this option after the chat is created.
Yes! You can use filters to include or exclude messages from the queue via the moderator settings panel.
Filters can be used in two different modes: Include or Exclude. In exclude mode, filters can be used to exclude all messages containing a particular phrase from the queue. Include mode filters can be used to exclude all messages from the queue that do not contain a particular phrase.
You can apply multiple filters to the queue, and they are cumulative. Filters are specific to the moderator that applies them, and will not affect the messages that another moderator sees in the queue. Once you remove a filter, any messages that were filtered out will reappear in the queue.
Similar to the peanut gallery, the Community Discussion board allow users to add forum-like responses to messages once the chat has ended. This only applies to messages that were not published or rejected during the actual chat. The board allows users to see other peoples' comments and continue the conversation even after the chat has ended!
You can enable the Community Discussion board in the moderator panel by clicking on the "Open Queue" button. This can only be done once the chat is over.
You can change your service level in the My Account Service Level section.
Service level increases will take affect right away, with the prorated monthly difference between your new and old service level being charged to your credit card immediately.
Service level downgrades will go into affect starting at the beginning of your next billing cycle.
You can view and edit your payment methods in the My Account Payment Methods section. You must have at least one payment method on file for non-Basic service levels.
No payment methods are required for the Basic service level!
We are always looking for suggestions of useful features to implement. If you have an idea for a feature, please Contact Us.