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A couple of months ago I received a box filled with prizes ranging from coffee and tuna to a beautiful article of lingerie. All it took to get it was attending a twitter party and participating in the discussion.
What and Why
Twitter parties are scheduled times for people to discuss the same topic with tweets and last from 1 to 2 hours. One or most hosts will organize and promote it using various social media including email, twitter and blogs. They may also be the moderator(s).
These events may be one time or a series and you don't have to be invited to attend. Often one or more companies will sponsor the party and give away gift cards or products. The box I mentioned previously included products from several companies that sponsored the party.
If you're wondering what's in it for the company it's the exposure. Twitter chats use hashtags (the # symbol) so anyone can join the conversation. By using the company name in the party hashtag it can get to the top of the worldwide trending list because it is tweeted so many times in a short timeframe.
How to Party
The first thing you have to do to participate is have a twitter account. They're free and it's an easy process to sign up. To find a party you could search for #twitterparty. An easier method is to use a website with a twitter party calendar such as tweeparties.
Use an aggregator program such as Tweetchat or Tweetgrid that automatically adds the hashtag to your tweets and makes it easy to follow the conversation and the hosts.
Some parties require RSVP in advance so make sure to do that to be eligible for prizes. The prizes may be given randomly or require users to be the x person to answer a question. The moderator generally repeats the requirements multiple times for party newcomers.
There aren't many other rules other than those you should use anyway including common courtesy and not spamming participants.
You won't usually win a prize, but it's fun interacting with and learning from others. If you're ready to party on twitter, start off with a chat on budgeting on Monday at 9 pm EST. I'm one of the moderators of the discussion organized by Inexpensively and sponsored by Kidgrade.
Have you ever participated in a twitter party?