BENEFITS OF TWITTER CHATS
Q:How can nutrition professionals benefit from participating in a Twitter chat?
A:Twitter chats are a convenient way to interact with the online community. You can present yourself as an expert to a large online audience, bond with the RD and foodie community, and connect with potential clients.
The purpose of a Twitter chat (or Twitter party) is to allow people from around the globe to join together and discuss a specific topic and share ideas. Chats occur at specific times and can take place weekly or biweekly. Anyone who has a Twitter
account can participate.
Twitter chats are indicated by a hashtag sign (#) followed by the chat title (eg, #RDChat, #FoodieChats). Participants can post a comment ending with the chat hashtag (up to 140 characters).
To view all tweets posted in the chat, click on the hashtag within a tweet. A busy chat can be tough to follow in this manner, but several websites offer apps that enable participants to follow chats more easily. The apps regularly update and filter the feed so you see only postings from the chat participants, and they automatically add the chat hashtag at the end of each submitted comment. These sites include TweetChat.com, TweetGrid.com, and Twubs.com. Participants also can use the social media management systems HootSuite and TweetDeck.
Benefits of Participating
Lauren Harris-Pincus, MD, RD, and Kathy Siegel, RD, CDN, cofounders of NutritionBabes.com, run the #BabesCook chat twice per month, which has contributed to the growth of their business. “By hosting chats, our social media exposure has grown significantly, with marked increases in followers and fans,” they say. “This leads to a greater likelihood of securing sponsorships. The Twitter parties also provide companies with unique opportunities to gain exposure by sponsoring themed parties to feature their products. In this forum, companies can gain immediate feedback about their products from a live chat, which can provide them with useful, valuable information.” Additional benefits of participating in a Twitter chat include networking with fellow nutrition professionals as well as food, nutrition, and fitness lovers, and learning information about a new study or trendy topic.
Join a Chat
Here’s a list of chats that focus on food, nutrition, and fitness (all times are Eastern):
• #RDChat: Run by Janet Helm, MS, RD, the conversation is geared toward those interested in food and nutrition. It’s held the first Wednesday of the month from 8 to 9 pm.
• #FoodieChats: Founder Steve Green discusses food topics on Mondays from 8 to 9:30 pm.
• #FitStudio: Run by Sears, FitStudio is its online fitness community, with which I’m affiliated. Chats are held Wednesdays from 8:30 to 9:30 pm.
• #AgChat: Farmers and ranchers share their stories about social media on Tuesdays from 8 to 10 pm.
• #FoodChat: A sister chat to #AgChat, this discussion is targeted to consumers, nutrition professionals, foodies, and influencers of food choice. It’s held the third Tuesday of each month from 8 to 10 pm.
• #GoUnDiet: Run by Gloria Tsang, RD, founding editor of HealthCastle.com and author of Go UnDiet: 50 Small Actions for Lasting Weight Loss, chats are held every third Wednesday of the month at 8 pm and focus on consumer-oriented healthful eating.
For the past three years, I’ve hosted numerous Twitter chats, including #FitStudio (a monthly host), #BeyondLI (moderatorfor the National Dairy Council’s lactose intolerance chat), #GoUnDiet (guest panelist), #FoodieChats (guest panelist), and
#KleenChat (guest moderator). My presence within the online community has allowed many to learn about my philosophy and has positioned me as a nutrition expert. Being involved in Twitter chats also has allowed me to connect with various people, ranging
from dairy farmers to fitness enthusiasts to RDs from around the country.
All Fitness __ BENEFITS OF TWITTER CHATS
— Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is the founder of Toby Amidor Nutrition (http://tobyamidornutrition.com), a nutrition expert for FoodNetwork.com, and a nutrition advisor for Sears FitStudio.com