Yet all that intra-Twitter talk hasn’t diminished the value or importance of meeting in person. #wjchat’s first real-life meetup, about six months after its launch, drew only two people (including Hernandez), but these days, #wjchat meetups regularly attract over 100 attendees. Hernandez has seen #wjchat logos on college graduation caps and came across a March 2012 profile of featured Online News Association member Tauhid Chappell in which Chappell credited #wjchat for “stimulating my interest in online media.”

“That is what I do this for,” Hernandez says. #wjchat’s next meet-up will be this month in San Francisco during ONA 2012.

#muckedup is also bringing its community into the real world: The site is hosting its first New York City event on September 24 (#muckedup has also held meetups in Los Angeles, Boston, and San Francisco). “After seeing the success of the Twitter chat, we decided the next step would be to get people together in person, the ultimate social media,” Galant says.

#muckedup chats begin every Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET; #wjchat is every Wednesday, also at 8 p.m. ET.

 

Sara Morrison is a former assistant editor at CJR. Follow her on Twitter @saramorrison.