Twitter is a common topic of conversation on the Cirrus ABS blog because so many of us use it as a primary channel for online communication. For the time being it is one of the more flexible channels to use for communicating and users have developed their own innovations for the platform and built tools around those innovations.
One of my favorite innovations is the Twitter Chat. A Twitter Chat is simply a conversation on Twitter organized through a hashtag, which is usually a word or acronym following a “hash” mark – ‘#.’ There are many online tutorials to Twitter Chats, and my goal isn’t to take you through the ins and outs of how to be a good chatter, but how to find a conversation or two you want to get involved with and find some connections you can use to build strong relationships. Our own Kevin Mullett was on a panel at Socialize Toronto that covered Twitter chats in great depth, you can watch a video of that presentation:
My short involvement on Twitter chats has already channeled me into a new personal project, you can read more about the social mentoring project on my personal blog. The barrier to entry on these chats are low, just pick a tool you’d like to use (my “chat tool” of choice these days is TweetChat), plug in the hashtag for the chat and you’re ready to go.
Usually the program will include a guest who answers a series of questions. Twitter chat participants will comment on the answers, ask more questions, offer their own answers, or just explore wild tangents that may or may not relate to the main question. Individual personalities really shine through in these environments and the technology platform gives you the chance to be as involved in the conversation as you like. It’s like being in a crowded coffeehouse to hear a speaker and you can “hear” all the side conversations and commentary going on at once.
The advantage of all this is that instead of trying to “survey the room” to find the right people to interact with, they’re all out in the open. You can browse their profiles and find any other information you need to be sure you’re speaking with the people who provide you with the best opportunity to connect and build a relationship. That relationship building is the foundation of discovering opportunity and driving business results through online interaction.
Kevin Mullett directed me to an excellent online calendar of Twitter Chats in a Google Docs spreadsheet. Unfortunately some chats don’t survive long and the moderators forget to remove them from the list, but you can search for topics that interest you or time blocks that fit your schedule. If you can’t find a Twitter chat that you’d like to participate in, don’t be afraid to start one! If you would like to start one but aren’t sure the best way to go about it, contact us for help getting your Twitter Chat started! We’d love to help you develop a community by way of chat and sort through the strategy of building an audience for that type of event.