Hashtag Abuse


This may be a bit of a rant, but only because it’s been bothering me for awhile.  There are several Twitter chats that are great and of course I would rank #tourismchat right up there as one of the greats.  Twitter chats are just a great, informal way to exchange information and I usually come out of them with something that I want to try with my business accounts.  So basically, holy learning experience.

What is event better about these chats is that you can monitor the hashtag during the week and still get tons of great information.  I’ve seen people ask for help or even volunteer an article that they found helpful.  It’s fantastic for all of us, because it’s helping us all raise our games.  Unfortunately, this learning experience is being hijacked from us and therefore, taking away our abilities to really embrace a medium that could be awesomely helpful.

The first group of people that are doing this I would like to think are not doing this purposely.  They’re the off-topic people.  I have become known as the mean #tourismchat person because I’ve started calling these people out.  With an hour every week during the chat, we have a lot to fit in and are usually crunched for time.  So basically, I am trying to make sure the topic is discussed in as much detail as possible for the people that came for that topic.  Yes, that is why I’m mean.  But I really wonder about some of the people that are doing this.  You have a whole two weeks where you can use the hashtag to publicize a plea for help and you choose the one hour where it’s not appropriate.  In fact, I won’t even say anything to you if you publicize it at 2:55 pm on the day of the chat.  So what are you doing?  Oh and can you please stop?

The second group are hijacking hashtags on purpose.  They’re the self-promotional people and are the reason why I have stopped following certain hashtags during the week.  For some reason, it has become a trend that people are using the hashtag to get more hits on their blog, regardless of whether the post is actually related to what the hashtag is about.  While that might be great to get immediate hits, you are essentially tricking the audience of that tag.  So you’ve broken trust and they will most likely not return.  Is that really audience building?

So yes, this is a rant, but I wrote it mostly because I am very protective of #tourismchat as well as disappointed in what I see on other hashtags.  I am just asking you to take a second, think of the community that you want to broadcast to and then decide if what you want to broadcast right now is appropriate time-wise and topic-wise.  Is that too much to ask?

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