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Participating in a Twitter Community


… by James Dabbagian


What do all these things have in commom?

….OK….Aside from the “chat” part?

These are all hashtags for different Twitter chats. You’ve probably seen them from time to time as people in your stream participate in them. Maybe you scoffed at the idea, simply viewing them as flooding your stream? It actually goes much further than that. Each chat is its own Twitter community that everyone participates in! BlogWorld, I might add, has its own chat: #BWEChat which is every Wednesday at 9-10pm EST.

What is a Twitter Chat?

A Twitter Chat is a group of users that share certain traits that all communicate with each other through a hashtag. You may have seen hashtags like #usguys and #SMgirlfriends tweeted about; these are twitter communities. If you’re on Twitter a lot, and you want to maximize its benefits, you should consider participating yourself. Twitter chats are also communities, although they only meeet once a week (But feel free to use the hashtag to share with others!)

There’s Twitter chats for everyone, from fiction writers to social media advocates to teachers. You can check out a list by clicking here.

Why Participate in a chat?

Whether you’re a budding freelancer out for clients and advice, or a business looking to find new customers, or if you want to demonstrate your expertise, The best place to go is to a Twitter community. You can ask questions and get answers from others in the community, and do the opposite as well. By participating in a Twitter chat, you can also get recognition for your comments, resulting in more people following you, including a possible client or two!

Networking in a Twitter Chat

The best thing to do is to follow the major players of the chat. Obviously, this includes the host and any guests the host may have, but also watch for other people who frequently comment on things during the chat. These may be people that give the best advice, or are the most social, or are just plain ‘ole interesting!

Don’t forget to comment, yourself. Some chats go really really fast, so the best thing to do is reply to people with a question or comment and carry on the conversation.

Faux pas you should avoid

Don’t link to random sites (including your own) unless the community host explicitly allows it. Exceptions may be for content that’s relevant to a discussion at hand. Most of the hosts tend to frown upon links during chat, as they are seen as spam. If you must link content to someone, reply to them without the hashtag (Basically, backchannel them.)

Don’t announce if you’re late. It makes it look like you’re not respecting the chat and the topic by being on time. If you are late, it’s perfectly acceptable to just jump on into the chat.

Lastly, use common sense. Don’t act like a jerk, post commentary that’s on-topic, and be generous.

James Dabbagian is a Social Media Mad Scientist (Not a ninja, rockstar, superhero, etc) who has blogged since the days of
LiveJournal, and has done Social Media essentially all his Internet life. Get tips on using social media and blogging from his website. And don’t forget to catch #Freelancechat, a Twitter community for freelancers.

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