I have been a Twitter user for over two years now. After I signed up for my Twitter account, I began to build my network of public relations and communications professionals on the site. I soon began to observe what has now become a Twitter phenomenon: Twitter chats.
I was always interested in these chats, but never fully understood what they were or how they worked–until more recently. In case you’re as unfamiliar with Twitter chats as I was, Ragan.com’s Samantha Hosenkamp describes them as “online chat rooms, but within Twitter.” “Each chat–denoted by a hashtag (#)–focuses on a specific topic or field of interest,” she explains.
Basically, the chats are run by a Twitter user who acts as moderator, while participants in the chat can respond to others or pose questions and comments. Every participant includes the hashtag for the chat in their tweets so the other participants can watch the conversation in real time by searching that hashtag.
There are many benefits to becoming involved with Twitter chats. Hosenkamp points out that Twitter chats enable participants to build their personal and corporate brands. Users can also gain a lot of new insight and information in one short hour. This point was underscored by one Twitter chat participant, who said Twitter chats like #journchat (a discussion between PR professionals and journalists) “got me interested in Twitter. It made me realize the site was more than tweeting what you ate.”
If you are like me and plan on taking advantage of the chance to participate in Twitter chats more in the future, Hosenkamp offers several tips:
- Familiarize yourself with the topic beforehand and the format of the specific chat
- Use a tool like Hootsuite, which will make it easier to follow the conversation in real time.
- Don’t overload the chat with links; keep the focus on the conversation.
- Thank the moderators and participants for their time, and be sure to keep up with the connections you made.
Be sure to read Hosenkamp’s post, as she also provides a list of hundreds of Twitter chats to check out.
2 thoughts on “Check out #twitterchats”
Hi Emily, Great post! Twitter chats are a helpful networking tool for pros from one field who are passionate to communicate, exchange ideas and points of view. Not long ago, I have gathered 13 Twitter chats for PR people in a list and may be it will be useful to share it here: http://higher-and-higher.com/2010/12/07/13-twitter-chats-for-pr-pros/
I'm glad you enjoyed the post! You're right, I think Twitter chats are a great networking tool. I think they will become increasingly important in the future as our field changes along with technology and the economy. Thank you so much for sharing your article.