Twitter Chats - Coolio or No No No
Twitter chats are you involved in them? Do you like them or hate them? Theres an array of views out there. Some people love them, some people hate them, some people don't even use twitter, like WTF?!
Recently I have had the pleasure of attending and hosting meet ups based on, or starting from twitter chats. So its fair to say my view is a positive one. That being said I think it is important to recognise the down side that can come from them, so here goes.
Cliques - Like any community this does happen online. While most people I have met online are very open to talking to new people, you can quickly find 'influencers' who don't really interact with anyone outside their usual group. This can also lead into the next point.
Online Attacks - Cliques can, and I my experience have led to personal attacks, which are apparently justified by saying 'Im standing up for my friend'. This seems quite difference to the 'real world' were your friends usually help to stop a disagreement, not add to it, to get their own bit of attention.
Best thing unfollow, mute, block (if you want) and report.
The Notifications - If you find a particularly good, engaging chat to be part of, you may well find your notifications going crazy! This can be very annoying and even triggering for some people. So keep that in mind if you find your chat becoming popular. If you just find it annoying maybe mute your phone and go through at your own pace?
Keeping Up - Again this manly relates to popular chats. But if you are thinking about your tweets or just taking your time in typing them, then it can be easy to falls behind with the chats. You may feel out of the loop or like you can't keep up with the questions and comments.
Commitment - If you join in for 2 or 3 weeks you can start to see the regular people joining in with the chat and new people jumping in, great. However you may start to feel committed and pressured to come back each week. It may be that you love the chat and its all great. But saying 1, 2 or 3 nights a week you need to put an hour aside for twitter chats can be a big time commitment and will have an impact on your time to do anything else.
Meeting People - Twitter chats have provided me with an opportunity to met new friends. For me this has been particularly beneficial given my mental health struggles. When I have been unable to talk aloud or to people who already know me, the online community has often been a place of solace and respite. Its a great place to talk to new people and widen your social circle.
Actually Meeting People - Yup! I have actually met some of these guys and gals in real life, and it was amazing! I am almost without words to describe how it has felt to met people I have spoken to online for months or more in person. It is an awesome feeling.
While meeting people in real life can be great it is important to be safe if you are thinking of doing this. Make sure to tell someone where and when you are going and who you are meeting.
Learning - As I said I have benefited from sharing my story with others. In addition to that though I have also learned from others that have shared online. I have learnt about sexual health, mental health, exercise, marketing, promotion, photography and wrestling. While all of those are great I have been particularly pleased to learn more about other peoples thoughts and experiences around mental and sexual health. These are often seen as taboo subjects (very recently I received 'online hate' for talking about sexual health, so its still seen that way by some) as I am delighted when I can converse with other people happy to talk about these topics.
It maybe that you have a passion for something than none of your current friends do, well this is a great way to build or join a group of people with a similar interest and to get a discussion going.
Sparking Ideas - My idea for this post was sparked by Sophie's post about feeling 'Unwelcome in the Blogging World'. Taking part in chats doesn't just mean to meet people, it exposes you to their content, their ideas and experiences. Even if you didn't learn anything from it, it can still inspire or spark an idea of your own.
Feeling Less Alone / Feeling Connected - Can be similar to Meeting People (above), probably more so because of how I have explained that one here. But feeling less alone is different to meeting people. I can meet a crap load of people and not feel connected. So this is a different point in that regard.
I think of the friends I have made online and the support we have offered (and continue to offer each other). Again, this often starts from a discussion in a twitter chat.
There you have it, my thoughts on Twitter chats. Well those currently in my head, I'm sure there's plenty I have missed out. What are yours? Have you had good or bad experiences from Twitter chats?