Anastasia Ashman
December 6, 2013

How to Use Twitter Chats to Build Dynamic Online Communities

If who you follow is a key to deriving value from your social networking activities (and it is!), the better you do it for your own purposes, the more you’ll benefit.

Here’s one bountiful way into the chaos that will help you find people and accounts sharing content you’re going to want to see in your timelines all across the web: Twitter chats.

See a good list of chats.tweet_chat

These organized, hosted, regularly occurring events are a goldmine for discovering your peers, potential leads, and who’s out in front on topics you care about, or want to learn more about.

Consider checking out chats that may seem only peripherally related to your business or professional interests, because it seems everyone is puzzling through the issues of our digital age.  That’s going to help you, too.

Some of the most veteran chat leaders are puzzling through it all really well. That’s how I came to follow Forbes columnist, social recruiter and ‘ brand humanizer’ Meghan Biro’s three-year old TalentChat (#TChat): because she’s pushing the edges of the future of work, just as I am as a solopreneur.

I bet you’ll discover chats that will become long term guideposts in your life and work as these have for me: leadership coach Lolly Daskal’s #leadfromwithin and Angela Dunn‘s #ideachat, which highlights innovative thinkers and thinking.

There’s also a lot to be gained in witnessing how a top Twitter chat organizer builds community through conversation. It’s no coincidence that one of the most-social chief marketing officers on the web, Vala Afshar,  is a staple presence in the excellent #leadfromwithin.

(If you’re still unsure how these variously structured hour-long events might apply to your work, Social Media Examiner’s Kristi Hines outlines five ways Twitter chats can help your business.)

Pick a few chats of interest and search the hashtags on Twitter.

That’ll give you a quick peek at the last active chat. Don’t forget to save the search term in your Twitter dashboard so you can easily dip in anytime. If the subject matter is really compelling to you and you want to focus on it, make it a dedicated column in a Twitter management tool like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck.

You can start reaping the bounty right now, before you even show up to a live chat.

Scan the search results. Follow some of the people you find interesting contributors, or put them on a public or private Twitter list to monitor them over time.

I find if I follow a few major contributors or the chat organizer, I more easily see my chance to join in when the chat is live. And the more that I start to follow high-quality contributors of chats I thrill to, the more my timeline triangulates around my hot button issues.

So, when you notice a particular Tweetchat hashtag show up in your timeline, jump in. The gathering is probably happening right now.

Some people like to use a Twitter management tool to track the live chat’s hashtag since Twitter’s own search function can be slow. You have to keep hitting refresh to know what’s being said. Tweetchat is a favorite.

If you like what you see and want to be sure not to miss what these intriguing accounts are sharing, look up these same people and accounts and follow them on LinkedIn and Facebook and Pinterest and Slideshare and wherever else you’re active online.

That is how to use just one very rich point of access — Twitter chats — to find and start following people of interest all over the web.

Have you guessed I’m a big proponent of redundancy first, when you find and add someone of interest to your social network? I am. I will tell you more about this approach I’ve been using to build global community for the past five years in an upcoming post in this weekly series for Curatti in which I explore the mysteries of online community building.


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Anastasia Ashman

Social Community Builder at Selfish, Inc.
Digital life trailblazer. Author/editor/producer agented by Foundry Literary & Media. Entrepreneur drawing on New York publishing & Hollywood entertainment industry experience with unique global dexterity from 14 years of international living. Connecting people through content and culture, empowering you around the web's new vulnerability, visibility and voice. Get my on-demand, self-paced GlobalNiche social web curriculum for free.

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