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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.

26 Brilliant Bloggers Talk About Twitter Chats


Brilliant Bloggers is a weekly series here at BlogWorld where we look at the best posts from around the web all surrounding a specific topic. Every week, we’ll feature three of the most brilliant bloggers out there, along with a huge list of more resources where you can learn about the topic. You can see more Brilliant Blogger posts or learn how to submit your link for an upcoming edition here.

This Week’s Topic: Twitter Chats

Twitter chats seem to be growing in popularity, with new chats popping up every week and regular chats growing in size. Here are BlogWorld, we run #BWEchat where we feature conference speaker, track leaders, and keynotes as well as lead discussions on conference-related topics. Personally, I love Twitter chats and try to participate in as many as I can. If you’re interested in taking part in a Twitter chat (or Twitter party, as they are sometimes called) or even running your own, check out the brilliant advice below!

Advice from Brilliant Bloggers:

What are Twitter Chats and Why Should You Care? by Angela Atkinson

This post by Angela is a great overview of Twitter chats. She writes about the benefits of attending, some of the disadvantages, and tips for participating. She also lists some great chats that you should consider checking out if you’re new to the idea of Twttier chats. After you’re done checking out the post, you can follow Angela on Twitter @angieatkinson.

4 Steps to Launching a Successful Twitter Chat by Steve Woodruff

If you’re considering running a Twitter chat of your own, this is certainly the post you need. Steve Woodruff co-hosts the wildly successful #LeadershipChat with Lisa Petrilli, and this post tells you exactly why their inaugural chat has over 180 participates. Check out the post, consider participating in his chat every Tuesday at 8 PM EST, and follow Steve on Twtter @swoodruff.

How to be a Twitter Chat Champion by Heidi Cohen

You don’t have to start your own Twitter chat to enjoy participating. Heidi’s post is great for people who are new to Twitter chats and maybe feeling a bit apprehensive about jumping into the conversation. If you’re itching to participate, check out Heidi’s post and then follow her on Twitter @heidicohen.

Even More Brilliant Advice:

Did I miss your post or a post by someone you know about Twitter chats? Unintentional! Help me out by leaving a comment below with the link!

Next Week’s Topic: Sales Letters

I’d love to include a link to your post next week – and if you head to the Brilliant Bloggers Schedule, you can see even more upcoming posts. We all have something to learn from one another, so please don’t be shy! Head to the schedule today to learn how to submit your post so I won’t miss it.

Join Us at #BWEchat – and WIN a Free Pass to BlogWorld NY!


We’re proud to announce that BlogWorld will be hosting its first ever virtual Twitter party on Wednesday to help spread the word and answer your questions about the upcoming New York event. It will also be a great way to connect with other who will be attending, so I hope to see you there! Here are the details:

What: #BWEchat Twitter Party

When: Wednesday, May 18, 2011 at 8:00 PM EST

Where: Twitter!

Twitter parties (also called Twitter chats) are held online, with virtual attendees all following the same hashtag (in this case, #BWEchat). You can follow through Twitter’s main website or a desktop client like Tweetdeck, but they move really quickly, so I recommend using a site like Tweet Grid or Tweet Chat to follow along.

Who: Attendees, speakers, track leaders, BlogWorld staff, and anyone interested in learning more about the conference and meeting others who might be attending or have attended in the past. The chat host will be @blogworldexpo so make sure you follow this account! Also make sure to follow @Tracy_Iglesias and me (@allison_boyer) so we can DM you if you win one of the passes!

PRIZES: By attending #BWEchat, you’ll have a change to win an awesome prize – a free ticket to the show! During the chat, we’ll be giving away the following tickets:

  • TWO 2-Day passes
  • TWO 1-Day passes
  • SIX Exhibits-only passes

This is important: To qualify for one of the prizes, you must tweet the following message sometime between now and the party:

Join me at #BWEchat Wed 5/18, 8 PM ET for a chance to win a free pass to BlogWorld NY! http://bit.ly/mDHNXT #BWENY

You can tweet it as many times as you want until the chat starts! You must also come to the virtual party on Wednesday and participate by tweeting at least once between 8 PM and 9 PM EST (introduce yourself, shares some tips, ask a question, etc.). We’ll announce the winners throughout the night, so the earlier you get there, the more chances you’ll have to win!

Questions: We want to answer as many questions as possible at #BWEchat. You can ask directly during the chat, or to make sure we don’t miss your tweet, feel free to leave a comment below with your question and we’ll make sure the answer is covered during the party! (Please include your Twitter handle in your comment so we can make sure to let you know the answer.)

Hope to see you there!

Twitter Chats: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly


Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of bloggers starting up their own Twitter chats – basically, setting a specific time to get on Twitter and using a single hashtag so that everyone can read what is being said as part of the discussion. I participate (even if sometimes as only a lurker) in a fairly large Twitter chat every Sunday (#blogchat), but there are Twitter chats going on in every niche, some on a weekly or monthly basis and some as a one-time only event. Is this a good way to build your blog and business? Should you be starting your own Twitter chat?

The Twitter Chat “Good”

I can say, without a doubt, that participating in chats via Twitter pulls in new readers to your blog, as long as you’re helpful during the chat. Every time I participate, I end up with a ton of new followers and my blog stats spike a bit. This may be less noticeable for someone who’s getting millions of hits per day, but if you’re a small or new blogger hoping to reach new people, Twitter chats are a great way to do it.

They can also help you understand your readership better. With so many people throwing out ideas fairly quickly, sometimes I can’t take notes fast enough. Not only do I learn from others about my niche, but I find out what their problems and concerns are. If you ask a question during a chat, it’s almost like a mini-poll of your readers. So, this is a great way to connect better with your audience.

To go hand-in-hand with that, you can use tweets made during chats as inspiration for new posts. I do that every week here at BlogWorld following Sunday’s #blogchat, but you don’t necessarily have to take on the same format I do, addressing a specific tweet made during the discussion. Think about what is being said, what the common factors are among chatters. Those are issues you should address on your blog. You can even message people after you’ve written a post with something like, “Hey, during such-and-such a chat, I noticed your tweet about such-and-such a topic. I wrote a blog post about it that I thought might interest you.”

The Twitter Chat “Bad”

Twitter chats aren’t all sunshine and rainbows, both for participants and for organizers. Let’s first think about some of the downsides as a participant. For me, I find it hard to concentrate on anything other than the chat, especially when it’s a large group, and I’m a pretty good multitasker. It isn’t like you can just easily back up and read what you’ve missed. It goes so fast, that you’re forever playing catch up if you do it that way. So, if you want to participate in a Twitter chat effectively, you pretty much have to set aside a block of time to do so.

As an organizer, the biggest downside is lack of control. Sometimes, you’ll get someone participating who doesn’t understand how Twitter chats work. They can throw a conversation way off topic, and while taking a chat in a different direction isn’t always a bad thing, it can be distracting and disappointing for participants if they show up to talk about blogging only to find that 90% of the people have gone off on a tangent about their cats. The off-topic participant is not a huge problem, though, when you consider that every once in a while you have a complete troll who’s out to make fun of everyone’s tweets, spam the chat, or otherwise just get in the way. With other chat systems, you have the ability to boot someone, ignore them, or even report them, but on a Twitter chat there is less control.

The Twitter Chat “Ugly”

Twitter chats definitely have one huge disadvantage, which I’ll refer to here as “the ugly.” When you’re participating, all of your excited tweets about the topic are going to take over the feeds of your friends, even if they have no interest in the topic. Sure, you can announce beforehand that you’re participating in a Twitter chat, but as someone who’s seen people on my following list get involved with them, I can tell you firsthand that it is annoying. Clogging up feeds is never a good thing, no matter how much your readers love you.

So should you start your own Twitter chat or participate in existing chats? At least take some time to lurk at the most popular chats for your niche. Twitter chats aren’t for everyone, but they benefits can’t be overlooked.

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