Twitter #Chat is Hot New Trend

Twitter chat tree graphicTwitter #chats are one of the hottest trends on the social web and a great way to learn about a variety of topics.  A Twitter #chat is a series of tweets, all focused around a specific topic that is held at a specific time, that anyone with an interest or opinion is encouraged to join in. You “listen” and contribute by searching for the chat name preceded by the hashtag symbol. As an example, #blogchat (started by @MackCollier) is one of the most successful topic chats  in terms of participant count with a recent #blogchat enjoying over 5,600 tweets and over 700 participants during the one hour session.  What are all those tweets about?  Blogging of course.

If you would like to learn more from and about @MackCollier, the creator of #blogchat, here is an interview with Mack conducted by Mark Schaefer on his BusinessGrow blog or follow him on Twitter.
You are in for a challenge the first few times you try to join in.  The action is fast and furious with the tweets flying by.  Without the use of one of several different web tool options, your eyes will go cross-eyed and you will become overwhelmed.

Here are a few web tools and resources for you to get the most out of Twitter #chats:

  • Tweetchat is a web tool that I recommend if you want to get the most out of a #chat session and looking for something that is free. Mack Collier said about TweetChat, ” One neat feature of Tweetchat is that you can “feature’ tweets from a user, which means Tweetchat will add a colored band around their tweets which makes it very easy to see them as the flood of tweets passes by.
  • TweetReports is my personal favorite at this point, featuring three pricing plans from $9 for an individual account to $299 for an Enterprise account, and a free 14 day trial. I will be writing a full review of TweetReports here on Fill the Funnel in November.
  • Here is a video that demonstrates a few of the capabilities of TweetReports and also the speed and pace of one of these #chat sessions.
  • What the Hashtag?! – provides a convenient way to track over 20,000 hashtags currently.  I have found that many of the newest #chat groups are not yet listed here, but it is worth a bookmark to be able to track down what some of those hashtags that you see on Twitter are for.
  • TweetGrid – creates a Twitter search dashboard that updates in real time.

At the very least I recommend using one of the popular Twitter client applications like TweetDeck, Hootsuite or several others.  Mack Collier (#blogchat founder) provides another helpful suggestion for those that want to host or co-host their own #chat session:

“Another good idea, especially if the chat has a co-host, is to follow in Tweetdeck, and create one columns for all #Blogchat tweets, then another for the co-hosts’ tweets, and probably another for the host’s tweets.”

If you just cannot keep up with the flow, or you miss a scheduled chat that you really wanted to learn about, most #chat hosts will provide a written transcript of the recent chat shortly after the chat session ends.  Here are examples of transcripts and analytics available from TweetReports from recent #blogchat sessions.  Scroll down to examples just below the video.

A well-done four part blog series about Twitter Chats is written by Maria Colacurcio over on Small Business Trends that helped me out when I was getting started with Chats.  If you still don’t have enough, Greg Taylor wrote an excellent piece titled “6 Reasons Why We Love Blogchat“.

The two #chat sessions that I have gotten the most out of so far are:

  1. #b2Bchat 8:00 pm Eastern every Thursday
  2. #blogchat 8:00 pm Eastern every Sunday

After you get a few of these under your belt, select a web tool that works best for you, and get it on your calendar you will actually come to enjoy the activity.

Many of the larger Chats are now starting their own LinkedIn Groups like #blogchat, allowing the conversations, relationships and business connections to continue after the chat.

Do you have a favorite Twitter #chat that you would like to share with us?  Have you created your own #Chat?  Leave us the information in Comments so our readers can learn and grow.

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