Do you participate in Tweet Chats? 6 Compelling reasons you should..

I started participating in Tweet chats several months ago. At first, it was just out of curiosity. Over a period of time, I realized the many benefits (not to mention, I enjoyed myself too!) and continue to participate in a few chats regularly. Some of the Twitter chats that I’ve been part of include #Bufferchat, #Eduin, #IndiaHrChat, #chrdx, #hrtrends, etc.

According to this Forbes article, a Tweet chat is a live Twitter event, usually moderated and focused around a general topic. To filter all the chatter on Twitter into a single conversation a hashtag is used. A set time is also established so that the moderator, guest or host is available to engage in the conversation.

From what I’ve read, the very first Tweetchat (popularly known as #blogchat) was hosted Mark Collier in March 2009. The response was so good that Mark continues to host this chat every week – 8 PM Central. Each week a different blogging topic is chosen, For e.g.: sometimes it is about personal blogging topics, other times the focus is about business blogging. There are more than 5000 tweets on an average during every 1 hour chat session!!! For more details, click here .

Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a corporate, an individual, or a community manager – there are many good things about participating in Tweet chats. In this post, I’m listing 6 compelling reasons to be part of Tweet chats

Tweetchat WHY
(1)   You think : One the reasons why I enjoy being part of Tweet chats is that they compel you to “think on your feet” about very pertinent questions around a topic. Questions which may be you’d never think about. By being part of a tweet chat, not only do you have to think – but answer publicly state your response. So you really need to think quickly and respond concisely and creatively (in 140 chars), which is a good exercise for your left and right brain!

(2)  You learn : The other most important benefit of being part of tweet chats is that you learn about the subject under discussion, and a social media skill on how to participate in tweet chats . Most tweet chats involve a combination of personal opinions / perspectives and also generous sharing of previously published articles / resources on the topic in question. So you get to access to some of the best online resources around a subject which is a great learning experience

(3)   Your social network only gets better as you connect with a diverse set of individuals / businesses : This is probably one of the most important reasons to be part of Tweet chats. Your networks and relationships make all the difference – both in your professional life or personal life, and especially in the socially connected world. The best way to nurture a relationship is to invest in it – with time, with valuable content, with positivity. Most of the regular tweet chats also have a guest on the chat – Someone who is an expert in the area and he /she shares their perspectives on the questions. Tweet chats provide a great opportunity to connect and converse and engage with the experts, thus setting the initial foundation for any future interactions

(4)  You get diverse global perspectives for the same question : This is again one of the key reasons to be part of tweet chats. Many times I find just “listening” to many unique / personal responses to the same question can be a huge learning experience. Reading the insights and trends which give you a holistic view on any subject is in itself is a huge take-away

(5)   You can get answers to your own queries : The other good thing personally for me is that many times if I have a question, I raise it during tweet chats and invariably get some of the best answers. So it is like “googling” for your query, just that here the responses are from people who know / are genuinely interested in the subject under discussion. And many times there are several global industry experts / gurus who join into these discussions.

(6)   You enhance your own online brand : Sharing your unique views, voice and perspective based on your experiences / thoughts during a tweet chat gives you an opportunity to create and enhance your own online brand – What you say makes all the difference in the online world , and goes to create and enhance your online brand.

And all of the above with the only investments as your time, your thoughts and a willingness to share…  Those are my 6 reasons.. Do you participate in tweet chats? Yes / No.. Why? Leave a comment to let me know..

Suggested Readings

http://blog.tweetchat.com/blog/
http://www.likeable.com/blog/2011/07/whats-the-roi-of-a-tweet-chat/
http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/twitter-chats-with-pam-moore/
http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/tag/tweetchat/
http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/28979/8-Steps-to-Hosting-a-Successful-Twitter-Chat.aspx
List of Tweet chats @ http://www.gnosisarts.com/index.php?title=Tweetchat_Wiki/By_Day#.VCyQImcxNyU

Does your BLOG have a BRAND?

I often wonder if blogs have a brand…And I am using “brand” in the most basic sense of the word – As really something which “truly distinguishes your blog” for others.. As  I mull more on this, I can’t help but think that every blog has a brand of its own.. So what are the key aspects which determine the brand of your blog

1) Your Blog Design
The first thing which anyone really observes when they visit your blog is the overall design – The most important parameters being the colors, template and layout, font style, font size and the overall menus. If you are a serious blogger, you absolutely need to get this right! If you can do something exclusive here, then good for you. If not, it should still be appealing to the general eye!

2) Your Blog “About You”
Again every brand has a “persona” and in the blogging world, your persona is what you say about yourself. You have the full freedom to paint the picture of yourself you want. The most important thing is to be honest, short and sweet & of course positive. If you can keen this section really “unique” and interesting, it will go a long way in enhancing your blog’s brand value. A picture of yourself is an absolute MUST!

3) Your Blog Content
“Content is King” and “Content is Queen” and “Content is everything” in the blog-o-sphere. So update your blog content regularly, keep it fresh, interesting and ensure that there is some take-away from every post of yours. Ultimately, your blog content is what creates, builds and maintains the brand image of your blog. And you got to continuously work on this as there is no dearth of content in the online world!

4) You
Again, every blog you publish has a part of you! Your thoughts, your emotions, your experiences, your imagination, your views, your opinions, your articulations, your perspectives, your analysis, you comprehension, your conclusions. There is a little and lot of the real YOU in your blogs. Your blog is eventually your baby – your creation. And your offline brand definitely influences the brand of your blog. NOTE: This is more relevant for well-known personalities / offline celebrities as they already have a strong brand image in the real world ; and some of it translates to the blogging world. For e.g.: Amitabh Bachchan’s Blog (Bollywood Actor and Superstar)

5) Everything else on your Blog
And then there is everything else you do on your blog which influences the brand image. The menus, pictures, videos, links, ads, etc etc etc

Nevertheless, branding is really about perceptions and how your readers perceive your blog is what makes all the difference. A little bit of thought, a dash of creativity, a pinch of positivity and of course, lots of dedication is what makes all the difference in the long run.

On that note, Happy Blogging

9 Specific Ways YOU can use Twitter…

Twitter is increasingly becoming one of the most popular Social Networking platforms. While there are many reasons for the explosive growth of Twitter across the globe; if I had to list down the top 5 reasons on why Twitter has gained in popularity, they are below:

1) The introduction of the Tweet of 140 characters
 a) You can tweet from the web or mobile
 b) The 3S Factor – It’s Short, Specific and Simple!!!

2) It gives you the option to choose who you would like to Follow based on your interest – It is your personal choice ONLY! Subsequently you can Follow / Unfollow at will

3)  Easy to use interface for typing a Tweet. Of course, it takes time to understand other features but just typing a Tweet is simple and can be done easily

4)  Option to choose the level of privacy – You can control who reads your tweets

5)  No limit to the number of followers for a Twitter handle – Everyone loves the concept of abundance, infinite and limitless

While many individuals use Twitter for many reasons, in this blog I have listed the 9 Most Specific Ways YOU can use Twitter – The list below has been compiled based on my observations of Twitter usage over the last 3 years, my own personal usage of Twitter and by surveying others in the world of Twitter.

1) A personal log of your activities, thoughts and emotions
Many of us like to have a personal log of our daily activities, events, achievements, thoughts and emotions. Twitter can help you do just that – Provided you are disciplined about tweeting. If this is your key focus, using your mobile would be the preferred input device for tweeting.

2) A log of all that you read
Many of us tend to be content consumers in our life. We read from many different sources and like to have a consolidated repository for our own future reference. Twitter can enable you to consolidate all that you read and believe is worthy of storing, consolidating and archiving

3) To Share
Many of us like to share all that we know, all that we read, all that we learn, all that we believe can be of value to someone at some point in time – Twitter helps you to share with a known and unknown face anywhere across the globe

4) To Connect with others
Inherent to the human nature is the need to connect, to bond. And many of us like to connect with like-minded people, connect to people we admire, connect with the wise, connect with the successful, connect with celebrities – Just to listen to their voices, to know them better, to get a slice of their life, to unravel their thoughts, to know what keeps them going, to hear their views, opinions and to get the latest news

5) To Learn
Twitter can be a great learning platform – on any subject. If you are clear about what you want to learn, the time horizon you have in mind and the time you are willing to invest – you can adopt different strategies on how you can accomplish this. But at a high level, this translates to identifying the Twitter handles that are considered knowledgeable in the specific area(s) under question, and then follow their tweets. Over a period of time, you would have learnt way beyond your own expectation and imagination

6) To Create a Personal Brand
Many of us like to have a personal brand of our own – It can be as a technology expert, a great chef, a spiritual guru, a great parent, a benevolent advisor, the encyclopedia for answers on one / many subjects. And Twitter helps you to create this brand – Provided you focus, think, plan and tweet accordingly.

7) To garner support for a specific cause
One of the most powerful usages of Twitter is to amass support for a specific cause – it could be to donate blood for a medical emergency or to gather votes for a reality contest or a larger global issue of policy, governance, etc. which you strongly believe in. And Twitter can be very effectively used for creating awareness to a large base of global audience in real-time

8) To get a dose of motivation, inspiration and humor
This was a bit of a surprise! But a lot of people said that the primary reason for them to use Twitter was to get a dose of motivation, inspiration and humor – It could be for a specific low time in your day, to a blue moment in life, or just that one tweet to kick-start your day on a positive note, or that daily health tip which will give you the fuel to stick to your diet and exercise regime…

9) Just Like That!
I hear this a lot. A lot of people use Twitter with no specific intent, no specific objective and no specific agenda. They use it because it exists, because everyone around them is using it, because they have time..

In reality, majority of us use Twitter for one / many of the objectives listed above. Your primary objective on Twitter Usage will determine the quality and quantity of your tweets, your behavior and tweeting patterns. However, in the long run (say 10, 20 or 30 years from now) you will end-up with a huge volume of your own tweets covering a range of topics and tweeted with different intents. While traversing this growing volume of tweets will become a challenge to individuals like you and me, it will also provide ample opportunities for businesses on tweet segmentation, grouping, consolidation and aggregation.

While it is the start of the New Year 2012, it is good to review and re-think your usage of Twitter & if you need to review your own personal tweeting strategy.

On that Note.. Happy New Year 2012! And Happy Tweeting!!!