#Journchat Live Recap

August 18, 2009

Last night John and I attended #Journchat Live at Tunheim Partners and I wanted to provide a brief recap. The idea of #journchat started on Twitter with PR pro Sarah Evans, or @PRsarahevans on Twitter, leading a discussion with the mission “to keep an ongoing, open dialogue between journalists, bloggers and public relations professionals (for as long as we can).” Journchat goes down every Monday night and participating Twitterers use the #journchat hashtag so their updates can be followed.

To follow the conversation, go to http://search.twitter.com and type in #journchat or #journchatmn for last night’s live Twin Cities session – which was a first. What has been a strictly online discussion since its inception incorporated the face-to-face element last night with six live sessions around the country. Arik Hanson (@ArikHanson) and Kristin Gast (@KristinGast) were the live moderators for the Minnesota session.

I have monitored #journchat in many past weeks but have never participated because I was a little puzzled by the fact that so many of the questions being posed were important ones that I just felt were complex and required way more than 140 characters to answer. I felt that people would need a whole blog post to explain their position on some of the issues and to justify them. It felt like Twitter was a difficult format to have a live discussion with so many people, so quickly. It has grown on me, as I have become less adamant about my original criticism once I started finding value in spending a little more time on Mondays reviewing some of the Q&A sessions that transpired that night, but Monday evening’s live event proved why #journchat could be so much more.

Hearing fellow marketing and PR pros and journalists like WCCO’s Jason Derusha (@DerushaJ), David Brauer (@DBrauer) and some guy named John Reinan (@Reinan) of Minnpost and KARE-11’s Scott Goldberg (@ScottGoldberg) and Matt Lechner (@KareEP) talk candidly about the state of media and public relations was very thought-provoking. And most importantly – they weren’t confined by issues like number of characters. Media and blogger relations are substantial components of the majority of our campaigns and tough questions were answered throughout the night about those areas.

There was still tweeting, that’s for sure, but the real value was being in the room. I, for one, hope that #Journchat continues to evolve and more face-to-face events happen. I understand and agree that sitting on your couch and participating in this discussion is easier than attending weekly events, but might Albert Maruggi (@AlbertMaruggi) have been on to something – he was live streaming the event last night – showing the potential that #journchat has, possibly in a Skype, web cam future? Regardless of what the next step may be, I’m sold that it brings value and that it has even more potential to be of use as our industries continue to change.

For an example of the types of questions that are asked in #journchat, the following is the list of questions that were asked last night to all six live locations and everyone following along online:

  1. Who owns the fan experience of social media at college stadiums?
  2. Are they trying to set up a local wire for MSNBC by buying Everyblock? Does it make sense?
  3. Have you noticed media companies now hiring social media journalists or companies soc med position?
  4. How do you communicate/show/tell the value of “social media” and online communities?
  5. Why are you participating in a LIVE version or the online version of @journchat? What do you hope to accomplish?
  6. If the press release as we know it is dead, what is next? Will something take its place?
  7. What type of “pitch” gets your attn? Journs: for a story; PRs: someone looking for a job or new idea?
  8. What advice do you have for new grads in PR/journ/marketing/comm? Doesn’t have to be social media specific.