A Problem With Twitter Chats?

Photo cred: Lise

Who owns a community on twitter? No one can moderate it so does anyone really control it?

After participating in #blogchat last weekend, I read a post from Mack Collier. The comments held a lively debate. I suggest you read a bit of the comments, but the basic argument was this:

Mack commented on the issue of people coming and tweeting out links to their posts using the #blogchat hashtag without really participating in the chat.
Ryan, one of the people Mack quoted in the post, contended that a hashtag isn’t “owned” by anyone. He was using the tag to reach people he thought would find those posts useful. There is no “wrong” way to use a hashtag.

As a fellow chat founder, I understand how Mack felt. He loves his community, and hates to see it mistreated. Still, I realized that our chats are run on a hashtag in a completely open forum. You can’t prevent someone from using a hashtag however they want. No one owns a hashtag.

If someone wanted to start a blogchat today, and say that it’s a hashtag used to share blog posts about blogging, there’s really nothing, the original blogchat community, could do about it. Same for #u30pro…same for any other chat.

Personally, I love that people share good posts in the #u30pro feed throughout the week, as long as it’s not spammy. But really, there’s nothing we can do about it.

Gathering around a common interest is great on twitter. But for large, organized communities, is twitter the best option?

5 thoughts on “A Problem With Twitter Chats?

  1. That is a very tough call — I can see both sides to the argument.

    I have participated in a variety of chats and it is annoying when people post self-promotional links. In my mind, doing so during the actual time-slot of the chat, this does not follow “Twitter Etiquette”. We cannot tell someone to not do it!

    I see no problem in doing it throughout the week with the hashtag — It does not ruin the conversation at all and who knows, maybe it could be beneficial to some.

    Maybe have a 30min period available after the chat to be able to post links people believe to be useful? This way if people are into discovering new content in this fashion… well they can!


    1. I know journchat does something like that. They leave 5 minutes at the end of the chat for people to post up links etc. I fear that might attract more of the wrong people to the regular chat though.

  2. Great post. Never thought of it that way. I guess the only thing you COULD do is make your chat hashtag more outside the box & unique so your targeted audience uses it. #u30pro is pretty specific, whereas #blogchat could theoretically be made up by anyone for a number of reasons not having to do with the specific chat. Do chats have to have “Chat” in the name? #u30pro doesn’t, and like you said, you get quality posts throughout the week. Interesting.

  3. I used to be active in Twitter chats. No longer. There are too many of them, but most of all I abhor the time sensitivity of them. I want to use Twitter on my schedule, not some chat’s schedule.

  4. Unlike Ari, I still like participating in chats. It’s a great way to have a focused conversation on topics that interest me. If you have a very limited amount of time to spend on Twitter, it can be a great way to gain value in short spurts of time and find new people to follow.

    Concerning the use of particular hashtags, I do find it annoying when people break etiquette and insert content not relevant to the current chat. Ryan, mentioned above, could have posted outside the normal chat time and I think that would have been no problem at all, as Bryan mentioned.

    Twitter is not necessarily the “best” for chats because of this hashtag issue and it’s general inability to thread conversations, but like I mentioned, it is a good way to find other people to follow and the openness allows people to discover great posts and discussions by search or even by accident. I’ve participated in chats on Friendfeed before and that was nice because you could easily keep track answers to specific questions. It did seem tougher to spread the word and get others involved though.

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