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How to Network: Twitter Chats

23 May

Who knew that participating in online chats would ever deliver professional results? I’m not talking about the online chat rooms that people used to participate in years ago, where hundreds of users simply discussed random topics with complete strangers hiding behind a cute username. I’m talking about chats created on Twitter by the use of hashtags.

Hashtags, represented by the # sign, label a topic, location, etc. and, upon searching for a hashtag, Twitter will show you recent tweets that include the same hashtag. Twitter chats, Tweet-ups or Tweet Chats (whatever you’d like to call them) are made possible by the use of hashtags. A moderator will usually asks questions to begin a discussion and users can also contact each other individually. Some of the chats that I have participated in are #pr20chat, #happo and #PRStudChat, which are all public relations chats but there are Twitter chats for just about anything.

Most recently, I participated in the graduation edition of #PRStudChat, not for Public Relations Studs but for Public Relations Students,where students and professionals alike join to chat about almost anything PR. Deirdre Breakenridge and Valerie Simon have been hosting #PRStudChat since August of 2009 and an awesome community with many relationships has been created by a simple Twitter Chat.

I have participated in #PRStudChat in order to not only keep myself up-to-date in the Public Relations world, but also to ‘meet’ other PR professionals or students. One might not see the value of a Twitter chat until you actually participate in one. You may find contacts in a city where you hope to get a job or you may even pick up a few projects or volunteer work which can ultimately benefit your career.

The Graduation Edition of #PRStudChat was really fun and I even won one of the three giveaways! I also had the opportunity of being interviewed by Harrison Kratz, creator of #PRStudCast, along with Cory Williams, a Communications graduate from Virginia Tech, discussing future insights for PR graduates. You can listen to your podcast by clicking the link below!

 #PRStudCast Graduation Edition 5.20.11

So whether it be a job offer, an interview for a podcast or simply meeting people in your industry or with similar interests, Twitter chats are a great resource for networking. You should never miss out on a networking opportunity, even if you have been employed for years!

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