I ended up suggesting and participating in a session about Twitter chats, in particular how those chats can build trust among members of a community that could help expand who journalists can reach out to for help on stories. The discussion was also expanded to include a discussion about two-way conversations online in general and how online tools can be used for them.
This post fulfills my promise to those in the session that I’d create a post on one of my sites with links to some resources about Twitter chats:
NOTE: Don’t forget to check out Tim Merritt’s notes from the session as well and to add anything that you feel necessary to either of our comments sections.
The most comprehensive list of Twitter chats out there (via Google Docs) and its explanation.
Media specific chats:
- #journchat – Mondays, 8-10 p.m ET. The original Twitter chat.
- #blogchat – Sundays, 8-10 p.m., ET. | More info
- #pubmedia – Mondays, 8-9 p.m., ET | More info
- #wjchat – Wednesdays, 7-9 p.m., ET | More info
Here’s a list of some links that provide a great overview of how to organize, manage and participate in a Twitter-based chat:
- The Twitter Chat Experience – a great list of tools to manage participating in Twitter chats.
- What the Hashtag? – Wiki-like aggregation tool for chats.
- Great tips on organizing a Twitter chat via Top Rank.
- How to Participate in a Twitter chat via Small Business Trends.
- How to follow a Twitter chat via Inkslinger.
- How to join a Twitter chat via meryl.net.
- Reflections on Twitter Chat Facilitation Techniques via Beth’s Blog.
- Mediashift’s explanation of #pubmedia chat.
I started #bhamchat a little over a year ago in hopes of answering a nagging question:
What do I do with 1,000+ followers?
The more precise question would be how to I engage with those followers of The Terminal in a meaningful way. The idea of a city-based Twitter chat allowed for several things, regardless of the number of followers you have:
- It’s a way to engage Twitter followers with the organization and fellow members.
- It builds trust with your organization/publication – something extremely helpful when you’re looking for help with a story or general information. It can also lay the groundwork for a crowdsourcing project.
- It’s an educational vehicle – as the chat grows, there are more people that will learn about the personalities of the publication/organization and what it offers. You get the chance to learn some more about folks who can serve as ardent supporters of your work. It also serves as an opportunity to help others learn about new ways to look at using tools like Twitter.
- It also means that you’re giving folks another reason to use the service and not see it as a waste of time.
You may also find this infographic helpful, regardless of how you plan to use Twitter or any other social media tool in the future.
One important thing to stress (as we did during the session) is the need to use the tool that’s best for what you’re trying to accomplish. A conversation with students may be best suited for a Facebook group because it allowed for it to be closed. A conversation with a staff may require the creation of a password-protected blog that allows for much longer answers and complete control of the content. It’s important for you and those using it to be comfortable.
I hope it’s helpful (and I’m hoping to hear about anything I missed or that should be discussed further in the comments section).
Photo: Twitter Bird – Paper Toy. Rosaura Ochoa/Flickr