During #journchat on Monday night, @PRSarahEvans (a.k.a. @journchat) asked whether those of us who were participating in the discussion felt that #journchat was valuable and if we had any suggestions to improve it.
I had two ideas:
- Each PR person should take it upon themselves to invite one journalist to join the discussion.
- Organize local tweetups where we can connect in person with those folks we’ve been engaging with each week on #journchat.
Why get journalists involved in the discussion?
I believe that #journchat provides a great venue for facilitating open discussions between people who are in PR and the various writers we are reaching out to on a daily basis.
When #journchat first started, there were probably a lot more mainstream media, bloggers and freelance journalists who participated in the weekly conversations. This made for very engaging discussions. But lately, the conversation seems to be more one-sided with us PR folks sharing ideas amongst ourselves with input from only a handful of journalists.
To address this issue and provide an open forum where PR people AND media can share ideas, talk about best practices, discuss the way the latest breaking news has been handled, etc. we very clearly need more journalists on board.
So before next Monday’s #journchat discussion, which takes place from 8 – 10pm ET (7 – 9 CT), pick one journalist, blogger, freelance writer, editor, reporter, etc and personally invite them to the discussion.
Why a Tweetup?
At events such as MESH and Third Tuesday, I’ve had the opportunity to meet so many people in person, after first engaging with them on Twitter. Local #journchat Tweetups will provide us with an opportunity to meet F2F with people that we’ve already been connecting with online. We can socialize, get to know each other, and share in casual conversation that may spark more meaningful conversations on #journchat.
I believe that by personalizing #journchat a little through these local meetups, the conversation will be more stimulating (it usually is when engaging with someone you know or have met in person). Heck, we may even have an opportunity to band together and come up with ideas as to how to fix the sad state of PR’s reputation.
To get the ball rolling for a Toronto tweetup, a few folks have already expressed some interest. This includes @MartinWaxman @MollyBlock and @katjaib. There are quite a few other folks that have also participated in #journchat at one point or another and may also be interested. The following people come to mind: @EdenSpodek @CMM_PR and @DannyBrown (who wrote a blog post at the end of May about his thoughts on #journchat).
All we need to do now is let other people know about our plans and find a time that works for the majority.
If you are interested in participating in a Toronto #journchat tweetup, please leave a comment on this post with details as to when you are generally available in July and August. Based on the majority of responses, we can figure out a good time, date and place to meet. Seems easy enough to me, but only you can help make this happen.
If you are not in Toronto, and interested in organizing your own local #journchat Tweetup, please let Sarah Evans know via email: prsarahevans [at] gmail [dot] com.
UPDATE (July 11, 2009)
1) Check this out for details on #journchat LIVE
2) @MollyBlock who lives in Houston, TX is heading up to Toronto from July 20 – 24. She has organized a tweetup for July 22nd with PR folks and other members of the twitterati who are interested in getting together. I’m going to be working remotely and can’t make it that night, but it looks like the evening is shaping up to be a fun one. Details can be seen here: http://bit.ly/TOtweetup.