I attended a webinar yesterday and was compelled to write this post after realizing that much of what I came away with had nothing to do with what the hosts shared. It had more to do with the community of like-minded people who were participating along with me.
One of the things I find interesting about social media is how it can enhance the experience of other media. For example, prime time television viewing would probably be lower if people did not have social media channels that allow them to watch popular shows with their Twitter and Facebook friends. Just look at the feeds during top-rated shows or follow the show’s hashtags and you’ll see what I mean. All of those people are interested in a particular show and they enjoy sharing conversations about them. Even better, many celebrities participate in the conversations as well. It’s no surprise that Twitter and Nielsen are now business partners, with a Social TV Rating slated for availability this fall.
Which brings me to my point: participating in a webinar is a great way to meet your peers – people who work in the same industry or who share the same interests – and Twitter can help facilitate that. I met some interesting people yesterday by connecting with them on Twitter through the webinar’s hashtag. I shared conversation with them during the webinar and now, I’ll be able to take that a step further and connect with them on a daily basis. So while the webinar was interesting and I learned a few things, I’m sure that I will continue to learn even more from the new people I connected with. Plus, the presenter(s) usually have Twitter accounts and it’s valuable to connect with them, as well.
Most webinars provide a hashtag to follow and use in tweets – if your company is hosting a webinar, that’s something you definitely want to do to encourage people to share your content for the most social punch. It can be a little challenging to tweet during a webinar; part of the reason I like to do it is that it forces me to distill ideas into 140 characters or less. It’s a great way to summarize big ideas for sharing. Personally, I try to only share key points and not to keep up a constant stream of chatter, which can be distracting.
The next time you participate in a webinar, I encourage you to take a look around the Twitter room. You might find that the connections you make are just as valuable (if not more!) as what you learn.