The other day I was invited to take part in a #Hashtag Twitter Event. For those of you now wondering "What the heck?" a "Hashtag" # is used to track conversations people have on a particular subject or an event.
For example, if there is a hashtag for the Iowa State Fair it might be #ISF2011. People place that "code" in their Tweets and then folks can follow the conversation simply by refreshing a search on that hashtag.
For the business world it works the same way. For example each Tuesday evening many of us follow #AgChat where a group of people interested in marketing agricultural products and services meet to discuss ideas. It's well run and a great way to make friends and learn trade ideas.
So, how about some tips when holding a#Hashtag Event?
- Have a Moderator - Somebody to keep the discussion on track. It helps the flow of information and conversation.
- Welcome New People - When somebody joins the event ask them to just introduce themselves. It's not only polite but gives others an idea of who they are visiting with.
- Engage New People- Kind of like hosting a party. If the newbie askes a question, try to answer.
- Consider Having Structured Topics- #AgChat does this well. Several days before the event the moderator selects a topic and calls for questions from the group. They whittle down to a manageable number and start with Q-1, state the question and everybody is on board.
- Time limits - If the event lasts an hour maybe six questions are enough and each gets input for ten minutes. Moves things along and people are less likely to wander.
Now, if your Hashtag Event is social...much of this gets thrown out...but if you're using it to learn and share business ideas...get some structure. It helps.