Twitterquette 101: Lesson Six

Twitter chat?  What is that? 

They’re awesome, that’s what they are! No, but really, they are. When I wrote Twitterquette 101: Lesson Two I briefly mentioned Twitter chats, but I did not delve into how they actually work, so I thought this would be an important topic to cover. I cannot tell you how much useful information I have taken away from participating in a Twitter chat, along with how many great individuals I have connected with. Now you may be asking how a Twitter chat works if you have never been involved in one.

How Twitter chats work: 

  • It all starts with a founder and hashtag. For instance, #JobHuntChat is one of the first Twitter chats I ever participated it and it was created by Rich DeMatteo. This particular chat focuses on job seekers and provides useful discussion on how to land a job.
  • After you discover a Twitter chat you would like to be involved in, find out how often the chat takes place. For instance, #JobHuntChat takes place every Monday from 10-11 pm est. Some chats are weekly (like #JobHuntChat), while other chats may only happen biweekly or monthly.
  • What next? So now you know when the chat takes place, so what next? Show up to the chat at the indicated time ready to discuss the topic for that specific chat! Usually the moderators of a chat will tweet from the chats actual Twitter handle (most chats have one… see @JobHuntChat for an example) well in advance what the topic for the upcoming chat will be. Some people wait to find out the topic on the day of the actual chat, while other people, myself included, like to know in advance.
  • While the chat is going on the moderator and the Twitter handle for the chat will tweet out a specific question for the chat community to discuss. Each chat topic/question will pertain to whatever the specific chat is about. #JobHuntChat went on last night, and here is an example of a question that was asked: “Q3: I’m not sure I like the job I’m interviewing for but the company is amazing. Should I still interview? #jobhuntchat”
  • When a question is tweeted you should do your best to answer with your own opinion. When you tweet your answer, be sure to include the hashtag of the chat so everyone participating can see your response! The responses to each question during the chat is what really gets the discussion going. Here is an example answer to the above question that I responded with: “3- If you don’t see yourself working in that position, why interview? The company may be amazing, but will you be happy? #jobhuntchat” Tip: If you are answering the question directly, be sure to include which question you are answering with the question number so other participants will know what you are responding to.
  • While it is important to give your own opinion to each question, be sure to follow along with the conversation and see what others are saying. This is why I love Twitter chats! Don’t be afraid to reply to something someone else has tweeted, that’s what really gets the discussion going. I always leave a Twitter chat with a ton of knowledge and thoughts about something. For instance, all of the answers people had to Q3 during #JobHuntChat last night really got me thinking, because honestly I had not even considered some of the responses I saw until someone else mentioned it.

Now that you have a rundown of how a Twitter chat works, it’s time to go get involved in one! Before you know it you will be a Twitter chat pro! There are Twitter chats about tons of topics out there. Here is a schedule of Twitter chats for you to look into: Twitter Chat Schedule.

My top favorite Twitter chats:

#JobHuntChat | #PRStudChat | #PR20Chat | #4SqCHAT | #nywicichat | #blogchat

Questions? Feel free to reach out to me in the comments section or through my Let’s Socialize page! Hope to catch you in a Twitter chat soon!

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It’s Not ALL About Social Media

Social media. Where did it come from? Why is it important? What about the traditional stuff? 

Don’t get me wrong. Social media is absolutely wonderful. I use it everyday, and I have networked and met many great individuals via social media. However, people tend to forget the importance of traditional PR because of all the hype and attention social media has gotten. With social media comes many great opportunities. Virtual internships, networking, constantly staying updated, etc. However, you cannot solely rely on social media to further your career in public relations.

What do I mean by this? 

While it is great to have a social media internship, along with great knowledge of how the realm of social media works, you also need to know the basic skills of the industry. Go beyond a virtual internship. Yes, virtual internships are great. You learn very important communication skills (you aren’t in the office, so communication is extremely important), you work from home, you can have one while you are a full-time student, and the list goes on. However, virtual internships lack in one thing: the experience you will gain through a more traditional internship. For instance, I want to work at an agency where I am able to work on several client accounts. A traditional internship will offer me so much more than a virtual internship in this aspect because I would be in the actual office and able to get help/advice from co-workers at any given second.

Don’t get me wrong. I love the idea of virtual internships and I am currently looking for one. My point is that you cannot solely rely on  social media to get you the experience you will need for the real world. As PR students we need to learn to be well-rounded. It is great to spend a lot of time learning and utilizing social media. It is also great to get out there and put those basic PR skills we learn in the classroom to use. If you focus on just one area of PR while you are in school you will miss out on so many things, and becoming a future well-rounded PR professional could be one of those.

To be successful we have to become well-rounded in this industry. We have to stay up-to-date on current trends, but we also have to stay in touch with the traditional side of PR. Social media has made networking and internships so much easier, but we need to keep in mind it isn’t all about social media. Don’t just rely on social media. Get out there and gain experience in person!

What are your thoughts? Is it really all turning to social media? Is the traditional aspect still important to gain experience in? 

Related articles: 

Is traditional PR dead? 5 ways technology has impacted the communications industry for better or worse

Is Traditional PR Even Worth It?

Twitterquette 101: Lesson Five

Not everyone will use Twitter the same as those of us who are in the PR field. For instance, someone in the food industry will not use Twitter the same way as someone that is in PR. Some people may not even have a reason to use Twitter at all, besides to inform the world of how awesome they are, or follow their favorite celebrities (example: high school students).

 I recently got back into marching band here at Western Carolina University this past fall semester. The Pride of the Mountains Marching Band has a Twitter account that they use to update the band members of what is going on. They require every member (there are over 300 members) of the band to sign up for Twitter and subscribe to the Pride of the Mountains Twitter account to receive updates via text message. One example of how the band uses Twitter that works is if there is a change in rehearsal plans they send out a tweet to let everyone know the changes made. This is a great system, because everyone is always in the know. It is also a fast and simple way to keep all 300+ members informed 24/7, because let’s face it… not everyone constantly checks their email or a website for important information.

So we as PR students and professionals, have to keep in mind that everyone will have a different reason for tweeting. We cannot expect everyone to utilize Twitter the same way that we do. Obviously the marching band at my university does not use Twitter to join in on Twitter chats and network with PR students and professionals. However, what they do that is similar to PR individuals is share information and keep their public informed. So before you jump to conclusions about someone, or an organization, using Twitter the “wrong” way, consider what their objective is.

What are some ways you have seen individuals use Twitter outside of the PR industry? What are your thoughts on how they utilize this social network? 

Twitterquette 101: Lesson Three

When you are posting on a Twitter account you manage for someone else, do not tweet to your personal account and respond to yourself. Why not? Well, you are not really engaging and fully taking advantage of the Twitter experience.

One of the many great things about Twitter is the networking it allows you to do. By tweeting to yourself, from yourself, you are not really networking. You already know yourself! Twitter allows you to meet people that live in different cities, states and countries. So narrowing down who you tweet with, and by only tweeting back and forth with yourself, limits your endless opportunities to network. I am not saying that talking to yourself is bad, but when you have the ability to connect with someone that is thousands of miles away, why just tweet to yourself?

So what do you think… is tweeting with yourself pointless when you are running two Twitter accounts? Does it limit your networking opportunities?

Twitterquette 101: Lesson Two

Last week was my first lesson in Twitterquette and it covered the basics of what is okay to tweet. This week I thought it would be appropriate to discuss hashtags, and how to use them without stepping on any toes.

I will admit, hashtags are one of my favorite Twitter features. While I use hashtags on a daily basis, and in almost every tweet I compose, I also think there is a right and wrong time to use this awesome feature.

When is the right time to use a hashtag? My answer to this question is simple: whenever you have something to say that you would like to share with other people in the Twittersphere! Hashtags help get your message across to more people than just your followers. Using hashtags is a great way to strike up some interesting discussions regarding public relations, or any topic for that matter. When you use a hashtag just make sure it fits whatever message you are sending. For instance, if you are tweeting a question about public relations and you would like feedback from other students, use a hashtag like #PRStudChat. This is the first hashtag I use if I need advice from fellow PR students or if I have something exciting to share.

Twitter chats is another prime time to use a hashtag. Personally, I love Twitter chats and there are some great ones out there (#PRStudChat, #pr20chat, #internchat and #u30pro to name a few) to get involved with. Twitter chats not only offer a chance to chat with other students and professionals once a week, biweekly or monthly, but they also offer amazing communities that you can build relationships with fellow community members. This is one reason I participate in Twitter chats. I simply love the communities that come with them!

When is the wrong time to use a hashtag? The only time I think it is the wrong time to use a hashtag is if a Twitter chat is going on with that particular hashtag and you randomly send a tweet promoting something. I have seen this happen before and the response was not very pretty from the Twitter chat community. While some communities may not mind, keep in mind that it could rub some communities, or community members, the wrong way.

Other than that, I do not think there is another wrong time to include a hashtag in a tweet. What are your thoughts? When is it right, or when is it wrong, to include a hashtag in a tweet?

So You Are New to the Blogosphere…

So you are new to the blogosphere, now what?

Everyone is new to blogging at some point or other, but how do you get started? I started my blog a little more than a year ago and I never imagined I would ever get any hits on it. That has changed and it has a lot to do with things I have learned through my own experiences and reading other blogs.

The following are some tips I have for those of you who are new to blogging or want to jumpstart your blog again.

  • Make a plan. The first year I started my blog I did not really have a plan for it. My goal was to get a few posts up a month, but nothing far beyond that. When I decided to buy my domain name and attended Real World PR for the second year in a row, I decided to make a plan and be more serious with my blog. Maybe it took spending money on a domain name, or attending a conference two years in a row where they stress the importance of social media, but I now have a plan for my blog. In your plan, decide what you want to base your blog on and create topics you would like to write about. I suggest this to anyone starting out. It really helps!
  • Research. As PR students we already know the importance of research. When it come to blogging this is no different. See what other PR students and professionals are doing with their blogs and what they are writing. Along with this research you will create a list of blogs you will read daily or weekly.
  • Network in the blog world! Almost everyone is on Twitter, and there are Twitter chats for almost everything. One of the first few chats I was ever in is #blogchat. This Twitter chat has helped me network with other bloggers and get a lot of questions I had about blogging answered. While there are a wide range of bloggers that participate in this chat, you can still find a lot of useful help by participating. If you really want to network with bloggers that are interested in the same topic as you, find a hashtag that fits you. #PRStudChat introduces me to a lot of PR students who are interested in the same field as me and blog about similar topics.
  • Comment on other blogs and share posts. To me, this is very important. Read other blogs and join in on the discussion in the comments. This is a great way to get your name out there and show that you are not just promoting your blog, but other blogs as well.

What are other tips you have for starting bloggers?

Twitterquette 101: Lesson One

Twitterquette: the etiquette of Twitter, something we could all improve on. Some questions that may be asked include the following: what is okay to tweet, how often should I tweet, who should I tweet, how do I get more followers, and the list can go on for decades!

This is a new series I am going to bring to you, my readers, in the hopes it helps us both have better Twitterquette! Here is lesson one, enjoy.

What is okay to Tweet?

Honestly, everyone has a different opinion on what is “okay” to tweet. However, if you are using Twitter for a professional reason, which almost every fellow PR student I follow on Twitter is, there is a definite line of what is okay to tweet and what is not okay to tweet.

When I tweet I always think “what if…” For instance, do not tweet that you are drinking while studying for an exam. You may be in college, but if you tweet that you are having an alcoholic beverage while studying for this huge midterm in one of your PR classes just think, “What if a future employer saw this. What would they think?” If I was an employer and I saw someone that applied for an internship or job at the firm or company I worked at tweet something like this, there goes their shot at that internship or job! Plus, what if they thought you would drink while doing work for the firm or company? There goes your chance to show them what you are made of! So remember, when you tweet play the what-if game. If it is something you would not want an employer or your family to see, do not tweet it!

Something else to keep in mind is you do not want to seem like a robot on your Twitter account. Yes, share news stories to show that you are up-to-date with what is going on in the world, but personalize these tweets! Add your thoughts to a particular news story you read. You may only have 140 characters to get a message across, but trust me, you can say a lot in that many characters! So be personal and remember to engage with your followers!

While it is okay to be personal, do not be too personal. I have seen people I was following get a little too personal and let me just say they were quickly unfollowed, and it takes a lot for me to unfollow someone! So please, and I really stress the word please here, do not share what you sleep in, pick-up lines people are using on you at a bar, or how drunk you are with the Twittersphere. These are things we do not need to know, and in my book make you unprofessional.

There will be more Twitterquette lessons to come! In the meantime, what tips do you have for what tweets are acceptable and what tweets are not?