I love to see that little bird icon appear on the top left corner of my phone! It means I have a tweet – a succinct message that interests or concerns me.
I am extremely active on social media – partly because I love it and partly because it is my job. I have several accounts on Twitter that I use for various reasons (e.g. test out new features) and Twitter Chats have been my 2012 experiment. I’ve been exposed to a wealth of interesting content that I wouldn’t have found any other way.
Twitter chats or Tweet chats are hosted conversations on Twitter. When I opened my first Twitter account, some of my Tweeps started to talk about a recent chat that had created a bit of a buzz in the industry. I inquired, they provided the details, I tried it out and was hooked. “This is amazing,” I thought to myself. And I wondered who else was doing this. Once I started investigating, twitter chats of all shapes and sizes came out of the woodworks! It was like turning over an old stone in your garden and seeing all the bugs hiding underneath – but in a good way. Tweet chats usually have a hashtag associated with the conversation. This allows you to sign into TweetChat.com and follow only the tweets that use that hashtag (brilliant), for example #CmgrChat is a weekly chat for Community Managers that takes place every Wednesday at 2pm EST. Another one is #LikeableChat that discusses all things digital – I’ve been told this one starts up again on January 8th at 2pm EST. You can search online for other Twitter chats in your industry.
Some weeks I’m too busy to attend any of my favourite Twitter chats. The well-hosted ones offer summaries or transcripts on the chats so you can keep up to date with what people are discussing.
I can hear some of you asking, “But why participate at all? What do I get out of it?” I’ll tell you why:
- Introduces you to new groups (unfiltered access)
- Generates content tweets that are likely to be retweeted
- Exposes you to some social interaction within your respective industry
- Allows you to point to recent content and generate more views (wait a few sessions to do this as it can be a bit pushy to join only to push your content)
- Exposes you to new content generated by others.
It’s very easy to join a Twitter Chat, just make sure you use a bit of etiquette – as with all online activities. If you cannot find a Twitter Chat to join – think about hosting one of your own! Some things to consider if you want to host:
- Start on-time (at least be there to greet people as they announce their presence)
- Have more than one host (share the responsibility)
- Plan your topics with either guest speakers (tweeter) or a series of posed questions that participants can answer.
- Make sure everyone uses the designated hashtag so everyone can follow what’s being tweeted.
So try out a Twitter chat or two this year. It took me a few times to get the hang of how fast the conversation moves, but stick with it and you’ll enter a whole new world. If you know of any other excellent Twitter chats – feel free to share in the comments.