Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Networking with Twitter Chats

Twitter chats are often overlooked, but when used well, they can be secret powerhouses that help you network, develop professionally, pursue interests, and more.

What is it?
A Twitter chat occurs when a group of people  agree to "meet" on Twitter on a designated day and time to discuss a topic of interest.  Chats typically last an hour, but the length of time can vary. A chat can occur once or weekly or monthly.  Typically chats have a hash tag that is included in every tweet so people can track the discussion easily.  A popular format is to tweet out a set of questions, one at a time, for participants to mull over and discuss.

Seek and You Shall Find
Find movers and shakers in your industry by typing in the words "Twitter chat" and your topic of interest into a search engine. Note: Putting quotations around the words Twitter chat ensures that you pull up that exact phrase in your search results.

For example:

A screenshot of the following search string: "twitter chat" and (education or school or teacher).

Results will include lists of Twitter chats related to your topic. Add synonyms by typing in "Twitter chat" and (topic or [synonym for topic] or [synonym for topic]).  For example: "Twitter chat" and (education OR school OR teacher) will pull up the following results:
  • Twitter chats with the word education, along with
  • Twitter chats with the word school
  • Twitter chats with the word teacher
Networking and Etiquette
Not sure what Twitter chat etiquette might entail? You can always "lurk" on the chat or read past chat tweets by searching the relevant hash tag. If no one has used it in a while, find a chat that is updated more regularly. Once you feel more comfortable, you can re-tweet others, tweet (polite) questions and related points to other people in the chat, and answer questions.  Industry chats are a great way to keep track of conferences, news stories, and other developments in your field.  Less formally, you can also use them to find an online community for various personal hobbies.

Better yet, be an innovator and *start* a Twitter chat related to your industry.  You can read our tips on starting and maintaining your own Twitter chat in this post, as well as this one. Twitter chats are a great way to learn more about the pressing issues in your industry and to get the viewpoint of professionals before you get your first professional job in an industry. They can also allow you to share your expertise with a community of like-minded professionals. Don't forget to join our weekly #txsocialmedia Twitter chat at 8 p.m. on Thursdays to get the lowdown on social media events and news.

The Texas Social Media Research Institute (TSMRI) is a group of faculty, staff, and students at Tarleton State University with a mission of conducting social media research; sharing social media best practices; and providing social media education for students, non-profit organizations, state agencies, school districts, and higher education institutions.

Contact us:
Texas Social Media Research Institute
Follow Us on Twitter - @TSMRI
Call Us - 254-307-8211
Join Us for Our #TXSocialMedia Weekly Twitter Chats on Thursday Nights at 8pm CDT

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