#journchat LIVE took place this past Monday night. The event was hosted in seven North American cities: Philadelphia, Chicago, Minneapolis, Detroit, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, and of course, Toronto.
The Toronto event took place at the office of Thornley Fallis and the great eats were supplied by Marketwire (thank you again to both organizations for your generosity!). Yours truly was both event champion and moderator. (Photo’s from the event can be seen here).
We had a great group of people attend, including @davewire @thornley, @justmelinda, @davefleet, @vmiddleton @kjrose @karensnider @martinwaxman @jarodvhale @kaleneelizabeth, @mikesgene and of course, me (@jodiechakowitz).
Instead of getting into a full recap of what was discussed, I’ve decided to share some key takeaways from the event itself:
- We began networking (and eating!) at around 6:30pm ET, an hour ahead of the usual 7:30pm #journchat start. After an hour, we were itching to get the conversation started, but #journchat only kicked off at 8:00pm ET. Takeaway: Each location should allocate a set arrival time (an hour or so earlier) to keep the official start time as scheduled. For a small group like ours, the extended networking time was almost too much.
- The first question thrown out was centered on social media being banned from college stadiums. Few of us in the group were aware of the issue and it also didn’t seem to be relevant from a #journchat perspective (or at least our group didn’t think so). Fortunately, those that were in the know gave us the lowdown on the topic. Takeaway: When putting forward a question, don’t assume that everyone has seen or heard of the issue at hand. Provide links so that we have some context for the question.
- When participating in the Twitter only version of #journchat, many folks will multi-task, making a few comments here and there, checking periodically to see where the conversation is headed. Having the conversation live provided an opportunity to thoroughly discuss (and stray from) the topic at hand. Takeaway: The LIVE event opened up a lot of new avenues for continuous conversation, something that would never have happened on Twitter alone.
- Actively participating in the discussion, trying to moderate the flow of conversation and tweeting at the same time became challenging at times. Takeaway: Twitter is great for a virtual conversation, but it may not be the right tool for a LIVE event. @jarodvhale suggested that we may want to look at using Ustream for future LIVE events as an alternative to Twitter.
- In Toronto, we didn’t end up having journalist/media participation (although it looks like @mathewi and @thehartley may be on board for future events if the timing is right). @mikesgene, who has a storied background in journalism with the CBC and is still a journalist at heart, did however add tremendous value to the conversation. Takeaway: Active media participation is the one thing lacking in this conversation – whether virtual or LIVE. Comments by folks like @antoniaz on the topic of media involvement are very telling.
- The group in Toronto seemed to be the smallest amongst those cities participating in #journchat LIVE. And I have to say that I think it worked out to our advantage. Attendance may have been much higher if #whuffaokeTO wasn’t at the same time, since a lot of PR folks chose to network with @missrogue instead. Takeaway: An intimate setting means that we got to meet and engage with other folks on a much deeper level than in a large audience setting.
- While we all agreed that the smaller setting worked well, our conversations in response to a particular question likely ended sooner than in other locations (even when we went off topic or discussed other responses we were seeing). Takeaway: The time lag between questions needs to be a bit shorter. I would recommend this for both LIVE and virtual #journchat conversations.
- We requested some clarification on Q3 (how do you define a media company?) so that we could respond accordingly, but unfortunately never got it. Takeaway: Ensure the question being asked is not ambiguous in any way so that it can be easily responded to within the right context.
- At the end of each #journchat, participants have an opportunity to get in ONE PITCH. People often provide links to their blogs, or make note of great initiatives they are working on. For the Toronto group, we chose to show our support for a local initiative, @Kilos4Kids. Takeaway: The idea of self-promotion is a great one, but why not use a forum like #journchat to spread the news about a great cause instead? On Monday night, @Kilos4Kids had less than 100 followers. Less than 24 hours later, there were more than 220. I have to think that we played a part in getting them to more than double their followers in a short space of time.
Overall, those of us in Toronto agreed that #journchat LIVE was a success, and are looking forward to the next one. Thanks and congrats to @PRSarahEvans for getting everyone on board for this initiative. All we need to do now is figure out when the next LIVE event is going to take place.
UPDATE: @PRSarahEvans also posted a #journchat LIVE recap. You can check it out here.
If you participated in #journchat LIVE from any of the seven locations, I would love your thoughts on what you thought did/didn’t work. Your input will be invaluable in ensuring successful events in the future!