In ancient Rome, the Forum was the place for public meetings, legal proceedings, political debates, and open air markets. With so much happening, the Forum was essentially the center of daily Roman life. Flash forward to modern day where the internet has become the new center of daily life – a forum where global communities no matter how niche can meet, conduct business, and discuss any topic.
And even though these conversations can take place across a variety of platforms – a favorite of many communities (especially event planners), is Twitter. On Twitter, a popular way to hold a discussion is to schedule a “Twitter chat” – a set period of time, during which a specific hashtag is used to track questions asked by a designated moderator (typically the chat’s organizer) and answered by the chat’s participants.
Chats can be a fantastic way to accomplish a variety of goals: building brand awareness, building an active and loyal community, creating interest in an event, or extending an event’s content. Anyone can create a twitter chat, but for those not familiar with the activity, it’s probably best to start by participating in an existing chat first.
How to Join a Twitter Chat
Participating in a Twitter chat is easier than you might think but due to the fast-pace of the Twitter stream, some might wonder how they could keep up. Here are a couple, quick tips:
- Check the time – Twitter chats are often recurring and take place at a set time on a set day. So you’ll want to be sure that you’ve made note of the date and time so you don’t miss it.
- Pick a Tool – The Twitter feed moves quickly and it can be easy to lose track of the conversation between the speed of everyone’s responses and miscellaneous tweets from other users who aren’t participating. You could also miss out on responses if you’re not following all participants. That’s why it’s recommended that you use a tool that aggregates tweets using the chat’s hashtag and organizes them in a way that’s easier to follow. Consider using TweetChat, TWChat, or Tchat.
- Use good etiquette – Emily Post has never written about Twitter chats but there are a few unspoken rules of Twitter chats that, when observed by all, help to make the chat go smoothly. So be sure to let your followers know you’re participating in a Twitter chat (this way they can simply mute you for the duration, rather than unfollowing); participate with an open mind and a conversational rather than promotional attitude (ask questions, share knowledge and resources but don’t spend the whole time promoting yourself or your business or you’ll come across as obnoxious or spamming); and don’t be rude (try not to talk-over the designated moderator or subject matter expert leading the chat and try not to be argumentative. Opinions are just fine, but obstinance is unnecessary and unwanted). Treat it like a roundtable discussion at an event and you should be just fine.
- Help keep things organized – Since most Twitter chats are set up in a question and answer fashion, it’ll help all involved if you make it clear which questions you’re responding to. The moderator will usually assign a number to the question – ie “#TwitterChat Q1:…” so you’ll want to respond with a matching number so that anyone reading your response will know which question it’s answering – ie “#TwitterChat A1:….”
Twitter Chats for Event Planners
Now that you’re ready to participate – time to find a chat! Here are a few that are specific to event planners.
#ExpoChat – Brought to you by TSNN, here is an overview of #ExpoChat: “Expochat is a Twitter-based conversation on topics related to the trade show industry. It takes place most Wednesdays at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time (new time slot) and tackles a single topic each week – a recurring pain point, innovative ideas, evolution of the industry, best practices, and what works. Expochat is alternately moderated by three industry thought leaders: Stephanie Selesnick (International Trade Information, Inc.), Terence Donnelly (Experient), and Michelle Bruno (Bruno Group Signature Services).”
#ChatMtgs – Successful Meetings hosts a Twitter chat every couple of months. The most recent was in March but we’re not sure when the next chat will be held – however, you can follow @SuccessfulMtgs on Twitter and keep an eye out for the #ChatMtgs hashtag to find out when the next one will be. These chats cover various topics relating to meeting planning and are a great resource for interesting insights.
#EventPlannersTalk – This chat is hosted by Irina Trofimovskaya of The MICE blog and occurs not only on Twitter but also at live events. It’s a weekly chat for global event professionals held every Monday from 9 – 10pm GMT. And if you’re interested in participating in a live event, there’s an interactive workshop about values in the event industry with a focus on long-term vision with event stakeholders planned for May 31st in London and Frankfurt.
#ChatMC – ChatMC is hosted by Meetings & Conventions. It was last held in March and there’s no indication yet as to when the next chat will be – however, when Meetings & Conventions announces an upcoming chat, they post about it multiple times so you’ll be sure to see it. Just make sure you follow @MCMagTweet.
#AssnChat – Hosted by KiKi L’Italien, #AssnChat is more than just a twitter chat, it’s a whole community and resource. KiKi even hosts a companion podcast and runs the AssocitationChat.com website. Chats are held weekly, on Tuesdays at 2pm ET.
Do you participate in any Twitter chats? Do you have a favorite chat or do you host a chat? We would love to hear about it! Be sure to comment below or tweet us at @MeetingPool.
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