Sunday, January 4, 2015

Collaboration Resolution for 2015...Try Twitter! (Part 2) Hashtags & Chats

Still puzzled by Twitter? I know I'm still learning about this great social media tool too! If you didn't catch the first part of this post, go here. I'll cover what I've learned about Hashtags and Twitter chats in this post.

What is a Hashtag anyway?

When I first started using Twitter, I couldn't figure out how to find people to follow. I didn't know how to find Tweets about the topics that interested me. Hashtags helped me find these items! A Hashtag is a keyword or phrase (no spaces) with a "#" at the beginning. The keyword or phrase helps categorize the Tweet. These words can be anything from #edchat (a popular education hashtag) to #bestmemoriesof2014 (a popular hashtag at the end of 2014). 

You can search a specific hashtag by going to the "search Twitter" tool and typing it in. Twitter will then show you the current Tweets and photos posted to that hashtag. You can get a list of Educational Hashtags here (thanks to Cybrary Man). 

You can also send relevant Tweets to a specific hashtag. This is one of the ways I have found others to follow (and others have found me). One of my favorite things to do is share inspirational quotes. Here is an example of a recent Tweet I sent out to a few hashtags that focus on quotes.

This quote could be found by anyone following #quote and/ or #inspirationalquote. 

Twitter chats

In my experience so far, the most effective way to find people to follow (and for people to follow you) is to participate in a Twitter chat. These events usually take place once a week (or once every two weeks) at a specific time. During a chat there is usually a chat moderator (or sometimes several moderators) that will post questions to everyone in the chat. Chat participants are merely monitoring a specific hashtag (for instance if it is an #edchat session, everyone is monitoring the #edchat hashtag). You should just watch a chat session to get the hang of it; it's easy to catch the procedure after you see it. When I started participating in Twitter chats, my number of followers increased dramatically in a very short period of time! This is also where I found hundreds of additional educators to follow!

I recommend going here to this Education Chat Calendar to find a chat topic that interests you. Meeting days and times are listed.

The main thing you need to do is to jump in and start using Twitter. The more you use it, the easier it gets! It has made a huge difference in growing my PLN and in increasing our blog traffic. Twitter is an amazing tool that continues to grow in popularity. I hope this 2 part blog article has helped you understand it better!

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