Twitter- Where’s the conversation?

It’s funny how the questions I get from my network seem to come in waves. This week I got a load of people asking me what had happened to the “old” Twitter where we bantered with our friends, made new ones and had back and forth conversations as in a typical face to face.

The conversations are still there is the simple answer, but it goes a lot deeper than that. The more friends you have the nosier the room gets and the harder it is to see the flow of conversations when they are happening. Whole discussions whiz by and you never even see them.

What’s the answer?
Things like hashtags, Twitterfall, Twittergroups and TweetChat help with following the flow of a scheduled event and I’m addicted to a few of those, even if I only listen in.

Hashtags are a way to group a number of tweets together so you can easily find them and track new tweets about the same thing. The hashtag is designated by the use of a # sign such as #SXSW The most common application is for conference Tweeting but there are also a number of on-going discussions taking place that use hashtags to follow the conversation. If you want to start a discussion and have your tweets tagged with a # hashtag, start by following @hashtags to have your hashtagged tweets followed.

So back to how to find those conversations. Obviously you are quite welcome to start a thread yourself. Try setting a time you want to discuss something and ask your followers to send you questions or submit them in real time. This has been very effective for groups like #PRFirms, #RealEstate #NPTech, #Blogchat, #Socialmediachat, and #Twittermoms, and they’ve got some very good discussions going.

Bottom line?
It’s not so likely anymore that the conversation is going to come to you. There’s a lot of noise out there and you can easily be reduced to just a buzz in the crowd unless you actively search out topics you are interested in and dive in, so you’re gonna have to gt out there and find the conversation you want to engage in. Don’t wait for it to come to you!

By the way, 99% of the time your input will be welcome as long as it is on topic and useful. This isn’t where you self promote or show off how smart you are. Get in there and add value to the conversation!