Friday, May 18, 2012

Living In the Age of the Hashtag

So much depends upon the hashtag...

William Carlos Williams never wrote that line, but today's poets cannot be that far away from it.  A homebred categorizing method brought to Twitter by its earliest users has marched across our television screens, direct mail advertisements, and computers. It seems we cannot escape the march of the pound sign and I have to wonder how many people still wonder what the hell these things are all about. "What is this strange pound sign and why is it on the bottom of the newscast I am watching?"

Hashtags have become more than the official a way to unify ourselves in one topic on Twitter, but they have also become a way to explain a frame of mind (i.e., #justsayin, #WTF, #FML). People discuss the components that make up a good hashtag versus a poor one.

An example of this hits close to home. Many people have given me grief over the hashtag #assnchat for Association Chat....pronounced "ASS n' chat". The community behind it (that is well over two-years-old), laughs it off and appreciates the hashtag as having potential randy connotations, but the truth is if we had it all over to do again, we probably wouldn't choose #assnchat for the same reason you wouldn't name your son "Seymore" if your last name were Butts.

So, what makes a good hashtag?

  1. Make it memorable - Is it the acronym of your conference? Is it a representation of what you are doing? Will people find it easy to remember?
  2. Make it short - For use on Twitter, brevity is key. 
  3. Make it official only after you've checked to see if it already exists out there - Make sure there isn't an ongoing existing chat or use of the hashtag you intend to use before you commit to it. 

Will the hashtag always have relevance? It is today's rallying cry...instead of "Viva Las Vegas" or "Go Tigers!" we have chants of #assnchat, #eventprofs, or #bluekey.

How do hashtags impact what you are doing in your organization today?

Photo credit.

Friday, May 4, 2012

It All Looks Different at 10,000 Feet

With travel dominating much of my schedule lately, I've been appreciating the freedom of WiFi at 10,000 feet so I can keep up with work and communications while in the air. This may seem like a small thing, but it isn't. The ability to do what I want, when I want to is somewhat shocking to many people. But more and more people are like me and expectations are changing.

How are you changing your communication style to members to reflect your openness to adaptation and recognition of powerful trends shaping us all?