Can communities be built on Twitter?


(catykobe) #1

I interviewed Kevin W. Grossman for this week's podcast on the topic of building communities via Twitter. Kevin co-founded #TChat, a very popular, weekly Twitter chat with a very lively and engaged community centered in the HR industry. During the weekly chats these members are sharing personal experiences and building relationships with one another, and most do tweet regularly using the #TChat hashtag, even if it's not time for the set chat. They welcome members, they have rituals, and they occasionally even take the chats offline for happy hours and mixers.

What are your thoughts on using Twitter as a platform? Can/ should it be done?


(Susan Burton) #2

Using twitter implies the discussion is open to all? Clearly for a lot of communities this wouldn't work. Surprised they are using it for something like HR as there could be employment law issues if any recommendations were being made - unless tweets are anonymous?


(Sarah Hawk) #3

I tried to run a few Twitter chats once with limited success. Perhaps Kevin's idea of not setting a specific  time might be the key, because that was the biggest hurdle (esp for me on NZST).


(catykobe) #4

@Susan — Yes, it's a public discussion. There are a lot of communities on the web that are open to the public, but agree that Twitter isn't a platform if someone is looking to keep the discussion private. In my experience the conversations in #TChat tend to be about the HR industry as a whole, and not about specific issues that require confidentiality & compliance. Given the professional nature of the group, most people are really good at understanding what can and can't be shared publicly.

@Hawk — Yeah, your timezone can be a bit tough! :( I think on-demand is what really helps them to scale globally. He also mentioned that they were moving the time up a bit in order to better incorporate folks from Europe.


(Linh Johansson) #5

@Caty, great podcast. I run communities on LinkedIn and for some of them I also have Twitter communities as a part or supplementing to the LI communities - I have found that keeping them open and leveraging each other has been beneficial rather than the other way around. What I find though is that it's harder to "define" or "know" the communities on Twitter, I believe it is because it is so open and the audience on Twitter is bigger - how have you guys found this?


(catykobe) #6

@Linh — Hey there! Glad you liked the episode. :) I do think you begin to "know" individual users on an anecdotal level on Twitter and LinkedIn, but agree that it can be hard to get a sense of the community as a whole. That said, I feel that communities on Twitter are typically formed around a particular hashtag (instead of followers of an account, or all twitter users as a whole) and that groups are the best mechanism for building community on LinkedIn. Over time you can start to recognize patterns of behavior within the participants in those groups. Thoughts?


(Linh Johansson) #7

@Caty - Hi :) Agreed, groups are definitely the best community mechanism for LinkedIn and group members are very easy to identify and reach because of it's interface. What I'm thinking about is Twitter and hashtags, retweets, conversations etc. all that a Twitter community includes; how do you best identify and track the people in your community when there is no real border or defining feature? In the podcast he said that he personally interacts with all members, but how does he identify and keep track of his community members? It must be members that are "lost in the clutter" but easy to get back with a reminder or a @.. It's a difficult question to answer perhaps, especially since you didn't get in to details on this? What's your thoughts on it?