What is #blogchat?
#blogchat is a weekly conversation that takes place every Sunday nite starting at 8pm Central, on Twitter. Each week we discuss a different blogging topic.
So what do you talk about?
Each week we pick a different blogging topic, sometimes we talk about personal blogging topics, other times we talk about business blogging. One week we might talk about how to optimize your blog for search engines, the next week we might talk about how a company can pick its blogging team.
You said it’s ‘on Twitter’. How does that work?
If you’ve spent any amount of time on Twitter, you know that there are a lot of conversations happening at any one time, and it can sometimes seem like a jumbled mess. But when we add a hashtag like #blogchat to our tweets, then it becomes much easier for us to track and keep up with the conversation that’s happening! Think of the #blogchat hashtag as a ‘mark’ that we add to our tweets, then if you are searching for the term ‘#blogchat’, you can quickly and easily see all the tweets that are related to our discussion! Without that #blogchat hashtag included in the tweets, then they would be scattered all over the place, and you’d miss a LOT of the conversation!
So how long has #blogchat been around, and how did it get started?
The first #blogchat was in March of 2009. One Sunday nite I wanted to ask my Twitter followers a question about blogging. I knew I would get a ton of great replies, and I was worried that some other people that I wasn’t following would reply to those replies, and I’d miss them. So I decided to ask my question, but I added the #blogchat hashtag to my original tweet. That way, the people that replied would be more likely to add the same #blogchat hashtag to their replies, and then I could more easily find them!
The first #blogchat went on for a couple of hours, and was an instant hit! Everyone wanted to make it a weekly affair, so I decided to have a #Blogchat every Sunday nite, at the same time! The chat is now one of the most popular on Twitter, and each week we have hundreds of active participants, and the biggest #Blogchat so far had just over 6,000 tweets!
So is there a structure to #blogchat? Do you ask us questions, or how does it work?
The format of #blogchat is very simple: We start with a general blogging topic, and the conversation flows from there. I know a lot of Twitter chats have a very rigid structure, only allowing a few minutes per question, but I wanted to encourage a free-flowing discussion with #blogchat. I want #blogchat to be like a coffeehouse where everyone is discussing the same general topic, but each table is talking about a slightly different take on that topic.
So are there any guidelines or ‘rules’ to using #blogchat?
No real ‘rules’, but we do have a few ‘common sense’ guidelines:
1 – Stay on topic. #Blogchat has a really loose format when it comes to structure and topic. A lot of other chats ask the participants new questions every few minutes to guide the conversation. #Blogchat doesn’t, at most we’ll ask everyone two questions, and that’s usually when we have co-hosts. So we’re pretty open, but I do appreciate it if you stay on topic. If you want to discuss a different blogging topic than the one we are for that #Blogchat, please send me a reply @ on Twitter and let me know, as I am always looking for new topics. Also, check out our OPEN MIC #Blogchat, which is the last Sunday of every Monday. The format for these chats are unique in that there is NO set blogging topic, everyone discusses whatever they want!
2 – Please DO link to your blog posts and add the #blogchat hashtag to your tweets but ONLY if your post is relevant to that week’s discussion, and ONLY before or AFTER 8pm-9pm CT on the Sunday of that week’s #Blogchat. For example, if we are discussing how to get more comments on your blog this week, and you just wrote a post titled ’10 ways to get more interaction on your blog’, then ABSOLUTELY share that link with the #blogchat community! But if we are going to discuss ways to get more comments on your blog, and you are promoting your post on ‘How to pick a great WordPress template’, and you add the #blogchat hashtag, then it comes across as ‘spam’ to the #blogchat community.
3 – Please do NOT link to your blog posts DURING #Blogchat. This is a courtesy to other #Blogchat participants. There are SO many tweets coming in that if you link to your post, we probably won’t click it anyway. During the chat, we are there to talk, not to click a link. #Blogchat moves so fast that people aren’t going to click your link to open a page. By the time your page comes up, 100 new tweets from #Blogchat have come in, and I’m behind.
If you want to link to a post that you think is relevant to that night’s #Blogchat topic, then please wait till AFTER the chat is over, and then you can point out your post to participants.
UPDATE: I am adding the above after receiving feedback from #Blogchat participants. Please be mindful of linking to your own posts during #Blogchat, and how it affects everyone else’s experience. Thank you 🙂
For more tips, check out this post on how to use #blogchat for self-promotion.
Ok you’ve convinced me, I want to start following #blogchat, what’s the best way to do that?
If you use a Twitter client like Tweetdeck for Chrome or HootSuite, create a search column for the term ‘#blogchat’. Then as we leave new tweets with the #blogchat hashtag, they will show up in your column.
Or you can follow #blogchat right here:
Whoa…ok I checked some of the tweets from #blogchat and you guys are way over my head. I’d better lurk for a while.
Stop. Seriously if you want to join #blogchat PLEASE do. A big reason why #blogchat works is because EVERYONE is welcome to join us. Even if you are completely new to blogging, we can still learn from your experiences, just as you can learn from us. #blogchat is a place where we all come to learn together. So if you are new to #blogchat PLEASE leave a tweet introducing yourself, at least.
So what if you guys aren’t talking about the topic I want you to cover?
Then feel free to suggest a topic for a future #blogchat! I will often ask #blogchat participants what topic they want to discuss that week! So if you have an idea in mind, please let us know!
Holy Cats this #Blogchat is fast, just how big is it?
It varies. Typically, #Blogchat generates 20-30 million impressions each week, about 2,000 or so tweets from around 500 participants.
Yeah, we get chatty 😉 Won’t you join us?