Engage on Twitter with Twitter Chats

When the president of my PRSSA chapter shared a list of good “Twitter Chats” with myself and the other members of the organization today, I was intrigued.  I had heard her discuss them before, but as you know, I am new to Twitter and had yet to explore this function of the network.  I did not know what to make of this list of hash tags (for those of you Twitter newbies, a hash tag looks like this: #), so I turned to ever-reliable Google searching to figure out where to go from here.

My research showed that I had in fact been missing out, and Twitter Chats are very useful tools especially for readers of my blog, who are seeking professional advice and industry insight.

First thing’s first, what is a Twitter Chat? Twitter Chats are virtual meetings of people with a shared interest that take place at designated times and usually last about 1- 2 hours.  There are more than 35 Twitter Chats scheduled each week.  Most Twitter Chats have a moderator, usually the individual responsible for assigning the hash tag and oftentimes an expert in the topic of discussion.  Moderators can request question submissions in advance, allow for participants to ask questions as they arise or they may decide that all discussion must be focused on one topic.

So you found a Twitter Chat that interests you, now how to you participate? Twitter Chats rely on all participants tweeting the designated hash tag.  The conversation can then be searched by all participants and will include all Tweets.  However, they will be present on your home page, where there can be a lot of other noise (i.e., irrelevant Tweets).  This issue can be easily avoided by using a Twitter Chat tool (I recommend TweetChat).  You simply log in using your Twitter account information at the scheduled time, search the hash tag of the chat you want to participate in and you are in a chat room where you can easily focus on the conversation you are about to engage in.

Some features of TweetChat are that you can pause the conversation, choose your own refresh rate and feature or block users based on how you value their input.  Additionally, the hash tag does not need to be entered after each Tweet.  It is automatic.

What are the benefits of participating in Twitter Chats? Besides the fact that Twitter Chats can offer participants great advice from peers, professionals and experts, they are much more short-winded than a blog post.  You can essentially get the answers to your specific questions in 140 characters or less, and quickly due to the live chat nature.

They are also a great way to gain exposure on Twitter.  They eliminate the task of searching for people who can benefit your network by providing you with a list of people with like-interests.  Participants are likely to acquire followers from the chat.  This is also a great method of professional networking, since many moderators and participants are professionals who are often hiring.

In terms of networking, relationships can be built following a Twitter Chat.  Suppose you were engaging in a great conversation with another participant, and you would like to continue through e-mail or a meeting of some sort.  You have your excuse as well as your introduction.  “I would really love to keep discussing.  Would you mind if I contact you?”

Below are some of the Twitter Chats that were shared with me earlier as well as some additional chats that may interest you.  Go start a conversation!

  • #u30pro
  • #blogchat
  • #prstudchat
  • #prssa
  • #jobhuntchat
  • #hfchat
  • #careerchat
  • #internchat
  • #genYchat

 

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