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Twitter Hashtags

I ran across this article today on FastCompany.com on the topic of effective, or at least intentional, use of hashtags.  Speaking to an audience at the National Association of Broadcasters show, Twitter’s director of media partnerships addresses the interesting topic of cross-pollination that occurs between broadcast shows and twitter conversations using hashtags.    One of the things I found interesting was the variety of types of hashtags that can be leveraged, specifically the “canonical” and “mad-lib” hashtags.

The topic of naming conventions is one technologists, marketers, even general users have wrestled with for years.  Finding something that is memorable, concise, reproducible, descriptive, and trendily is difficult.  Add in the elements of contextual and technology maturity, then you have a sizable challenge.  With the web we do this with URLs or web addresses, email addresses, and let’s not forget about server or networking hardware designations.

The interesting aspect of Twitter hashtags is that they bridge the concept of naming conventions with the individual exercise of labeling or cataloging.  Take for example a conference.  The organizers might promote one hashtag, while attendees maybe using several completely different hashtags.   Obviously the organizers are attempting to promote their conference and the subsequent conversations.  The attendees, on the other hand, aren’t necessarily concerned with the conference promotion, they are tweeting for their following audience.  What I have observed in the last year is that some organizers are attempting to get in front of this scenario by promoting hashtags in their communication plan for the conference.  I’ve also seen organizers retweet posts with the “official” hashtag.  Another tactic I’ve seen employed is where conference organizers have deployed large LCD screens in prominent areas which display tweets with the intent to have participants to tweet with the hashtag so their messages will be displayed on the screen.  I believe Twitter did this at the first South by Southwest show they attended, to promote the service.

It’s a interesting dynamic, finding the “right” hashtag that the masses will adopt.  My own opinion is that it suggests that both organizations and individuals should be intentional with the use of hashtags.

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