Have you ever checked your Twitter feed and suddenly seen a bunch of your contacts posting with the same hashtag (#)? Did you feel like you were missing a party? Well, you just might be. Twitter Chats and Twitter Parties are one of the newest ways to use social media to make new friends and contacts. The idea is to use the hashtag to get everyone in the same "room" at the same time, in a virtual way.
I love participating in Twitter Chats, not only do I get to talk to a wide variety of colleagues, I always find one or two new people to follow (and attract a few new followers).
Many Twitter Chats happen weekly, For example, #weddingmarket is a Twitter Chat for people in the wedding business. Wedding Market News organizes the chat and arranges for a different guest host every week to get the discussion rolling. #Tablechat is a great chat for party hosts and foodies. There's an ongoing Twitter Chat Schedule google doc that lists all sorts of Twitter Chats for all sorts of industries.
Twitter Parties also called Tweetups are usually a one time event organized to promote something specific.
Participating in a Twitter Chat is easy, you can follow the # in any Twitter application, including basic Twitter. Many chats will also set up a "chat room" that makes things easier by automatically adding the # onto your posts.
If you're going to participate in a Twitter Chat, make sure to follow basic party etiquette, don't hog the floor or hijack the conversation, stay on topic, and don't say anything you don't want repeated in public (since even though a chat may seem private, it is VERY public). Twitter Chats can move pretty fast and people sometimes tweet over each other, so be on the ball and be patient. Some sites recommend introducing yourself whenever you join a chat. Personally, I find that annoying. You wouldn't interrupt a conversation at a party to introduce yourself, why would you do that on Twitter?
What do you think? Would you try a Twitter Chat? What questions do you have about how to do it?