I often hear how Twitter can be used as a networking source by means of following important figures and taking note of their updates, and sometimes interacting with them to get on their radar. That method of networking is an incredibly passive one that may or may not lead to any results, depending on how popular the figure is and how often they look at their mentions to spot new talent or contacts. That said, I don’t find Twitter to be useless; in fact, there is a much more active approach that can be taken online to gain different insights and gain contacts. Though, it can be incredibly intensive (dedicating an hour to tracking a fast paced conversation), it certainly can pay off; yes, I’m talking about Twitter chats.
The chats function by means of having the common note of a hashtag, which permits other users to track what is being said in the “conversation.” There is often at least one moderator that throws out a question every now and then, in which users flock to answer and offer insights. The beauty of it is that there are numerous mavens and experts that do in fact participate, along with the occasional corporate host. Sometimes, the exchange of ideas isn’t anything revolutionary, but rather, a reinforcement that what you may be doing is right. Then there are other times in which you can find yourself seeing things in a different light based on someone’s short 140 character comment.
But most importantly, you can meet great people that you wouldn’t have otherwise had you stuck to your current circle of followers. Granted, I’m not saying that a Twitter chat will immediately create for you a connection, but it certainly does give some context to you as a person if that is where you “met.” Plus, if you become a regular of a chat, then people certainly become more familiar and are more apt to listen to you and follow you back.
Unfortunately, the whole concept of a Twitter chat can be a bit stressful what with the multitude of flowing comments in any given minute during that one hour. Coming to chat every week isn’t a must, and neither is the “obligation” to stay the full hour. You can jump in at any time, pitch advice at any time, or simply listen throughout. The way to use this particular resource is up to you and the beauty in it is the fact that not only a collaboration of thoughts, but also dynamic. It is to say that nothing in particular is static about the conversation, there is seldom a particular veering towards one narrow direction.
Below is a presentation that I co-presented on a couple of weeks ago discussing networking and features some great Twitter chats for students, along with a link to a grand schedule of chats for a variety of industries and age groups.
Image via Ugly Bird Icons for Twitter