#Blogchat – A Blogger’s Hidden Twitter Resource!
If like me, your new new to twitter, it may seem strange to you to discover that beneath the surface of what appears like waves of disconnected comments, there is “threads” that act like a “old-fashioned” chat room! I had heard rumor of this exotic creature but it wasn’t until tonight that I stumbled into being able to observe it first hand!
All of this centers around hashtags, those #words, which can be used to join seemingly disjointed comments. I’m uncertain how using this as a chat room works in the traditional twitter browser page, but I did find two methods where it works very easily.
In either Hootsuite or Tweetdeck (these are twitter utilities, see their links for more information), you can create columns and filter for words, phrases, lists etc. Well the magic happens when you filter a column for a hashtag. In Hootsuite this is (+) add tab (optional) -> (+ add column) -> then “Keyword Tracking” tab ->type #blogchat in the text box -> Click Add -> Click Create Column. (Now, if a hashtag isn’t currently active, i.e. no ones using it at the moment, you may not have anything show up for a while.) You want these kinds of infrequently used columns on a tab that doesn’t update too often, or you will run out of “API” (communication) cycles too often. When the chat is active you can always manually refresh the column more often.
Another, must more “chat room” approach is to go to TweetChat and put the hashtag in question in the # box. In our case, that takes us to: http://tweetchat.com/room/blogchat Suddenly you have what for all intents and purposes resembles a traditional chat room.
Just remember though, that in both cases, any reply you make, you must manually type #blogchat (or your particular hashtag) into the message.
One note is that sometimes, when used during a live event, for question & answer etc, these threads are known as “backchannels”. A twitter backchannel is nothing more than a hashtag discussion thread that happens at the same time a live presentation or webinar (web-based seminar/lecture) is going on. When the live presentation is absent, its just a chat!
So what is this hidden resource for bloggers? Well Every Sunday night, at 8pm CST, there is a #blogchat chat hosted by @MarkCollier for bloggers to exchange ideas. One Sunday a night its open-mic, the others are generally kept on a related topic. Even open mic was pretty much on topic although a lot of related more brief topic. It was definitely a fun crowd!
If you enjoy an active exchange of ideas with like-minded people, I highly suggest you check out #blogchat or a variety of other chats relevant to your interests! What are your favorite twitter channels and favorite twitter channel chat secrets? Let me know!