Twitter is a great resource if you’re an avid crafter. I’ve learned so much about sewing, design, fabrics, even thimbles, machines, quilt squares, and much much more via Twitter.
One of the best things about what I’ll call “Twitter for Crafters” are hashtags. Some of my favorites right up front: #talknt, #gdas, #crafterminds. I’ll explain how these particular tags work in a second.
First, what is a hashtag? Whether you use Twitter or not, you’ve probably seen it; for example, trending right now: #NewGirl, #StorageWars, #ThingsIveLearned. A hashtag is “trending” if a lot of people are using it. And people use hashtags to mean a lot of different things.
The first of these two hashtags are for TV shows — people watching the shows Tweet while they watch. My favorite TV hashtag is #DoctorWho (of course!). Here’s #StorageWars:
Then, there are thematic hashtags. These can occasionally come in handy if you’re looking for #quilts, #sewing, #crafts, etc.
But my favorite use of hashtags create a chatroom. That is what #talknt, #gdas and #crafterminds are all about.*
I’ll use #talknt as my prime example – it takes place every Tuesday night from 7 – 9pm MST, and sewists from around the globe (I’m not exaggerating – they live around the world!) participate to discuss quilting, sew techniques, irons, threads, you name it! It is a great place to meet other crafters and learn more about sewing. Everyone who wants to participate includes the hashtag #talknt in their Tweet. It a fast and furious conversation! You follow the conversation by searching for “#talknt” on Twitter.
Cara @caraquilts hosts the chat, and you can find more info on how to participate at the #talknt blog here.
#gdas stands for Get Drunk and Sew, and it happens on Friday nights. I don’t think it’s a requirement to “get drunk,” but the general idea is to let loose and talk about sewing. And often that’s a perfect pace for a Friday night after a long week at work!
That’s another great thing about hashtags – they are basically a simple search term to sort through billions of tweets and just find the ones you want to read.
So, how do you get started with one of these chats? Well, all of them are free to join. It’s entirely possible to follow them on Twitter.com by searching for the hashtag, but there are easier ways to keep up with the chatter. A lot of people like to use TweetChat. I use TweetDeck, a program you install on your laptop, desktop computer or cell phone.
I like to call TweetDeck “Twitter 2.0″ because it is not for you if you a) are trying Twitter out but still don’t really “get it” or b) “get it” but don’t like to multitask.
TweetDeck is all about multitasking, and that’s why it’s so brilliant. I use it for work too, where I track even more hashtags. Here’s a screenshot of my TweetDeck at home:
Now you know “how-to” use hashtags… take a deep breath and stay tuned for a TweetDeck tutorial later this week. There’s no reason to get overwhelmed – only use the parts of Twitter you feel comfortable with!
* Chatroom hashtags are very similar to hashtags used in a meeting setting. Everyone at a conference, who are literally sitting in the same room, can also sit on Twitter and report on what they’re hearing from the speaker. People who can’t come to the meeting track it at home; or maybe you’re sitting in another session at the conference and want to find out what the keynote speaker said. It’s a very, very useful meeting tool.