The Bella Buzz welcomes SBBuzz Twitter chat creator Pamela O'Hara to the podcast. Hosts Desiree Scales and Joe Magennis were excited to have her join on this week's episode, to provide some details regarding the concept of the weekly discussions that take place as small businesses talk tech on Twitter. As well as, what it takes to participate in this recurring dialogue among small business owners worldwide.
Pamela is from BatchBlue Software which is a company dedicated to building software solutions for small businesses.
The idea for conducting the chat came about at a company staff meeting one morning as discussions revolved around existing clients who were having some challenges distinguishing ways to take advantage of different online communities such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. Having already participated in the #journchat Twitter chat, Pamela felt that directing one towards the small business owner could be very effective.
By networking at a small business event in New York, plus reaching out to their existing contacts with invitations via email and tweets, about 40 people joined in the very first conversation including Pamela's partner Michelle Riggin-Ransom as a co-moderator.
The process begins by developing a batch of questions that will pose as guides for each week's chat. Pamela solicits questions via Twitter earlier in the day, plus she receives direct messages and emails from participants with specific requests of the guest speaker. It becomes a very collaborative conversation.
Desiree informed us that she will be hosting a webinar during the Twitter Chat on Tuesday April 28, 2009 with guest speaker Tim Berry. She is inviting others to join her via online desktop collaboration and on conference call, to watch her participate in the chat. Anyone can decide to jump off at any time to participate directly in SBBuzz themselves at any time. If you would like to join in on the webinar email Desiree for conference login information.
The scheduled time for the weekly SBBuzz chat is from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm ET every Tuesday, and although some have expressed challenges with attending during the evening due to other conflicts, many in the participating audience have responded that it works better than trying to chat during the workday hours. Pamela is however thinking about finding some other moderators for hosting daytime chats.
A great new offshoot at the SBbuzz.biz blog is a guest post series called "Continuing the Conversation" in which extended versions of the chat are written by participants who had more to say than 140 characters would allow. As we have mentioned here on the Bella Buzz podcast, this elevates the importance of using the comments section to expand upon the topic as well.
In the long run, gaining an understanding of businesses who are using social media … meeting people, getting good ideas, learning and networking are the benefits of participating in the chats. It is a relationship building tool that anyone can feel comfortable joining and participating in.
And if you can believe it … Pamela is originally from Rome Georgia, now living in New England (and does not like sweet tea), while Joe and Desiree are from Boston and Chicago respectively, both now living in Georgia!
Please let us know in the comments what you think about the concept of Twitter chats and if you think you might be participating in some yourself.