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On My First #blogchat (And You Should Too)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Last night I dove into the #blogchat weekly twitter stream (officially every Sunday from 8pm Central but way more than that), following up on my mission to get more engaged with online communities. Yes, my motives are self-serving - I'm not a charity and I believe it will yield more business for FeedBlitz in the future - but it's more than that. Connecting with a broader audience is good for anyone as it can educate and challenge, and so it was lat night. I had fun, and although my first #blogchat, count me in as a future regular!

So, FWIW, some thoughts on #blogchat and why you should dip your toes into the waters too:
  • Everyone there is friendly and welcoming. I mentioned I was lurking at first and got encouraging tweets to join in - thanks, guys!
  • Differences of opinion are respected and become learning opportunities for newbies and old hands alike. There was no hostility, despite the firmly held perspectives of those on the chat.
  • 140 characters is a tight, tight limit - but having to edit down to that number (and quickly!) really helps get to the point.
  • There was value there for new bloggers and experiences social media mavens. 'Nuff said.
  • Don't let the topic du jour put you off. I was underwhelmed, to be honest, with the stated topic about who one blogged for - but there was plenty that I could (and did) contribute to once the conversations got going. I'm glad I hung around for it.
  • I found some interesting, smart, funny new people to follow on Twitter all at once. #blogchat is a great resource for the future for everyone.
  • It's not just on Sundays from 8 Central. The conversations started earlier and continued later than the "official" times - all good stuff. It also continues throughout the week and now has a dedicated column in my TweetDeck client.
  • #blogchat is as effective as having @scobleizer retweet you. In the last 12 hours I've gained as many followers from #blogchat (more or less) as I gained in two days from this post (see the case study). Wow. And being on #blogchat is way easier!
Ok, so that's the good stuff. Now the challenges.
  • It's fast. You can't possibly expect to keep up with everything, so don't. My 2c: Find a tweet or two you want to reply to and stick with those conversations until they run out of steam. Then return to the main fray and see what's out there for you.
  • My current Twitter client, TweetDeck, is simply not good enough for that volume of traffic. I missed too much and it went too quickly. Replies took too long to edit b/c TweetDeck didn't automatically create the #blogchat tag when replying to tagged tweets, and I lost time adding it and / or deleting then retweeting in order to get my remarks into the stream. (Update: I found the option to add the hashtag)
  • Twitter itself is inadequate. "Fail whales" and API failures struck throughout the chat. It isn't good enough at this stage of Twitter's evolution. I fear our tolerance for Twitter's continuing frequent availability failures is letting them get away with it. This is a crying shame given all the money that has gone into Twitter's coffers. They need to get engineering to solve this problem once and for all IMHO before working on anything else.
So, should you as a blogger, writer, professional, hobbyist, small business, larger enterprise try #blogchat? Despite some of the technical challenges, yes. I thoroughly recommend giving it a go. As I said above, count me in as a future regular.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great list and encapsulates what I felt about my first chat last night. Look forward to joining in on many others.

9:52 AM, September 13, 2010  
Blogger A Fly On The Wall said...

I use Tweetchat to keep up with all my "chats" see http://tweetchat.com

sign in and search your hashtag...


9:35 PM, September 15, 2010  
Blogger Phil Hollows said...

Thanks for the tip! Will try them next Sunday.

10:05 PM, September 15, 2010  

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