I’ve long been a fan of Twitter chats. There’s something great about a group of people coming together regularly to discuss a certain topic. The discussion can be really interesting and insightful. Many people will follow a Twitter chat and learn about a topic they are learning about, but not participate. However, the biggest value for me from participating in Twitter chats is the relationships that are built during the chat.
Mandi Bishop tweeted something at said at HIMSS15:
— Mandi Bishop (@MandiBPro) April 14, 2015
Considering it’s been retweeted and favorited like crazy, the message has really resonated on social media. Twitter chats are the perfect opportunity to interact with other humans. It’s the quintessential act of being human. Yes, that means that some people will fight over a topic, some people will have good behavior, some people will have bad behavior, some people will go off topic and start talking about hoping on a boat for a vacation, etc. While not all of these things are favorable, it gives a great glimpse into the humanity of a Twitter account. That bonds people in some of the same ways that bonding with someone in person can do.
What comes from all of these human connections is the growth of a community of people interested in a similar topic area. Notice that I said they were interested in a certain topic area and not necessarily that it was a monolithic group of people with the same interests. In fact, every Twitter chat I’ve been in has an amazingly diverse group of participants. No one really knows if you have 10 followers or 33,000 followers. They judge you on the content of your tweet and not your follower count in a Twitter chat.
I’ve seen this first hand as I’ve put together the #HITMC (Healthcare IT Marketing Community) chats. The community that’s come together around these chats has been phenomenal. I think we might have gone a little fast for the community hosting the chat every other week, but we’ll remedy that soon when we move to a monthly #HITMC chat. Regardless, it’s been a fantastic way to bring together the healthcare IT marketing and PR community. It’s become sort of a rallying space for people to share their ideas, learn from their colleagues, and meet new and interesting people. That’s powerful.
I’ve seen the same thing happen in participation in the #KareoChat and #InfoTalk Twitter chats. A community really comes together in a well hosted Twitter chat. One part education and one part meeting really smart people.
I’m not suggesting that Twitter chats are the solution to all your marketing challenges. In fact, in some places, it might not be the answer. However, I’m always amazed at the power of a great Twitter chat to bring together a community of people around an important topic.
Of course, if you don’t have the energy or reach to start your own Twitter chat, you can always piggy back other popular Twitter chats: #HITsm, #hcsm, or #hcldr to name a few.