February 17

Twitter Clinic: A hashtag case study

Social Media



Yesterday, inspired by a new starter at CubeSocial, I shared my 5 must-dos to get started on Twitter.

I deliberated about whether or not to include hashtags (so called because they start with the # symbol) so wasn’t surprised when @lexi_pop highlighted how “hashtags had me stumped for a long time… I didn’t understand how to follow or check if a hashtag was already in use” and @JasonComer explained to other newbies that “these tags link together tweets from across the globe and connect you to others tweeting similar issues”.

I think of hashtags as labels which identify tweets, so that you can find likeminded peeps (tweeps as they’re known on Twitter) and conversations of interest. If Twitter is a virtual cocktail party, hashtags are the virtual equivalent of colour-coded name badges. Hashtags are user-generated, so are only limited by the length of a tweet (140 characters) and your imagination. As I write #thegrammys, #verysexy and #notsexy are topping UK Twitter’s trending topics list!

When you click on a hashtag you see the most recent tweets on that topic. You can read what others have tweeted, join in the discussion and/or identify tweeps of interest, who you might follow. And with my Twitter stream currently buzzing with questions and comments about #Lex2011tweetup, what’s better than a current scenario to illustrate how hashtags work…

Lex 2011 (http://www.lex2011.co.uk/) is a strategy conference for the legal profession. @BrianInkster is one of the speakers and we’ve been trying to coordinate a tweet-up (a real world meet-up that occurs as a consequence of Twitter) since the then ground-breaking “how lawyers are using social media” conference call: https://blog.cubesocial.com/2010/01/how-uk-lawyers-are-using-social-media/

Using #Lex2011, our conversation quickly widened to include other tweeting speakers, and a tweetup date was added to diaries. A few mutual friends (people who follow us both on Twitter) picked up on our use of these hashtags and were added to the attendee list:

#Lex2011 @BrianInkster @LindaCheungUK
#speakers @ChristianUncut @SteveKuncewicz @damienbehan
#mutualfriends @markbower @Ju_Summerhayes @beej777 @nipclaw

With a month to go until #Lex2011, @BrianInkster and I started talking about venues for our tweetup, with Brian selflessly offering to undertake a reconnaissance of the 40+ venues nearby! These tweets coincided with #FF (Follow Friday – where friends recommend other tweeps) and those who challenge me weekly to keep up the standard of my tweets with #nopressure asked why they hadn’t been invited, which lead to other mutual friends asking to be added to the attendee list:

#FF #nopressure: @gavward @michaelscutt @AjeetMinhasGTB
#mutualfriends: @jonathanlea @thenakedlawyer @shireensmith @legaleagleMHM

Use of #Lex2011tweetup was suggested sometime during these exchanges, to distinguish from the conference itself – which led to further questions about what this break-away event was, who was organising it, when and where. Through our use of hashtags, an informal tweetup become a twegal party!

#joiningtheparty @london_law_firm @ MaasJonathan @chrisdaleoxford @HeatherTowns @JohnAFlood @IkenCEO

#apologies @Oxfordlawyer @vicmoffatt

Clicking on #Lex2011tweetup now, I see that @BrianInkster is also talking to @vidocq_cc @Charonqc @law4mumpreneurs @ClareRodway, while @DeferoLaw asks “are invites to #Lex2011tweetup open or is there a special handshake needed?”

#Lex2011tweetup is an open event on Wednesday 16th March. We’re thinking circa 6pm, in the Holborn/Kingsway area. Use the hashtag to let us know you’re coming, and keep your eyes peeled on the hashtag for venue details from @BrainInkster. No special handshake required!

Now that you can see how hashtags can work, don’t you just love them?

About the author 

Linda Cheung

Advising innovative companies on marketing and growth strategies. Founder at CubeSocial, Advisor at Oxford Innovation, Board member at Enterprise M3, Mentor at SETsquared.

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  1. Thanks Laurie, good tip.

    Likewise looking forward to it – three weeks and counting 🙂 Wonderful how Brian and I wanting to meet up while he was in London has grown into a who’s who of twegals!

    Also #joiningtheparty: @JoannaMG22 @jeanyvesgilg @conscioussol @aligeary @PeterAdediran @Nolan_Legis

    Have I missed anyone?

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