Many journalists describe Twitter as a great tool for finding sources and stories, but if you’re new to tweeting or you’re not a constantly engaged user, it can be difficult to find either. If you’re having trouble finding conversations relevant to your beat, Twitter chats are an easy way to get started.
Twitter chats are organized with a topical hashtag and occur at regular times. The easiest way to follow a Twitter chat is to search for that hashtag during the time of the chat. If you miss a chat, you can still find the transcript with a simple hashtag search.
Twitter chats can be a bit difficult to follow at first. Everyone tweets at once, so it’s sometimes difficult to discern the context of a person’s comment or question. If you need clarification or if you want more information from a certain user, be sure to use an @ reply to avoid cluttering the chat.
Robert Swanwick created a huge Twitter chat directory to help you find relevant chats. Chats often revolve around specific market sectors, and some are far better represented than others. There are too many tech-related chats to list here, for example, but here are some that might be useful for finding stories or sources on your beat:
Business news: #HBRchat, Thursday, 1-2 p.m. (All times are Eastern)
Manufacturing: #mfgchat, Wednesdays, noon
Small business: #nfiblive, Wednesdays, 12-1 p.m.
Luxury goods: #luxurychat, 3rd Wednesday of the month
Automotive: #carchat, Wednesday,8-11 p.m.; #motorama, Wednesday, 9-11 p.m.
Personal finance: #moolah, every other Wednesday, 7-8 p.m.; #moneychat, Monday, 8-9 p.m.; #wbchat, Thurdsay, 3 p.m.
Journalism: #journchat, Monday, 8 p.m.; #wjchat, Wednesday, 8 p.m.; #jrcchat, Wednesday, noon