There are many reasons why people use hashtags (#) on Twitter: categorizing a tweet, joining a trending topic conversation, or tweeting about a live event while virtually networking with attendees. Without your knowing it, some of those using hashtags may even be engaging in Twitter Chats: You can safely assume that anyone using a hashtag that ends in “chat” is doing so. Last week I announced that Perri Gorman and myself would be starting a new #JobChat every Tuesday from 5 to 6 PST, so for those of you who are still new to the concept, I have created a video to show you how you can easily join and engage in this new type of real-time group conversation.
But before I even show you the video, what exactly is a Twitter Chat?
Twitter has been compared to many things, but I always refer to it as a huge global and open chat room. Remember the old AOL chat rooms? [Oops...did I just give away my age?] Sort of like that, but there are no categories, just people with usernames. What happens if a number of people want to have a conversation on Twitter and use it just like one of the old chat rooms? They merely use the same hashtag, which allows them to both easily follow each other as well as allow others to easily join in the conversation. This is, in essence, what a Twitter Chat is.
Why join a Twitter Chat? There are many reasons to join one that could help you in meeting your social media objectives, including:
- To learn something new
- To share something you know
- To make new friends
- To be found by others
- To establish your personal branding
- To display your subject matter expertise
Now that you know what a Twitter Chat is and what the advantages are of participating, how do you exactly join one?
The software client that I personally use is TweetGrid, which anyone can use just as I will show you in the video below. It should be noted that you can join a Twitter Chat from the comfort of your own client, such as HootSuite or TweetDeck, just by adding a new Search column using “#JobChat” or whatever “#chat” you might be joining. Even though I personally use HootSuite, I still enjoy using TweetGrid because the updates are in real-time and it allows me to concentrate on the chat. So without further adieu here’s the how-to video!
By the way, if you are interested in learning about what other scheduled conversations are out there to join, please take a look at this excellent list of Twitter Chats.