Hashtags and conferences

I largely agree with Daniel Victor on that hashtag-free tweets are more aesthetically pleasing and that we should avoid using them. Or at least put more thought into when we use them.

I’d like to add a little idea I’ve had on using hashtags in conferences. Hashtags are handy in connecting small groups of people but I think there’s an alternative.

Twitter should treat hashtags at the start of a tweet the same way as it does @replies, hide from your main feed unless you follow that specific person or hashtag in this case.

#LearningFest Just arrived, who else is here?

This way you could freely be a little more vocal at these events but and at the same time not piss off those followers who don’t care about premier education events. I know people are self conscious about this; I’ve seen some start separate conference accounts to allow machine gun tweeting without the ill side effects.

Problem is that Twitter will never make that change. Large part of their valuation is based on how ubiquitous the hashtag has become. “Oh, by the way Simon Cowell, fewer people will now see #xfactor as we’re cleaning up the system to make it more user friendly”. No. Never gonna happen.

But fear not, solution is already here.

I suggest that next time you’re at a conference you do this instead:

@LearningFest Just arrived, who else is here?

This way only those who give a damn will see it. Chances are that if you’re at that conference, you’ll have followed the account. You can always mention before hand that “I’ll be at @LearningFest, follow to hear the latest” so your other followers can keep up if they care enough.

Other obvious benefit is that now it’s easy to find out what the event is you’re talking about. So often you see a hashtag but struggle to find out what the context or event is.

I guess hastags are the new punchline.tumbler.com—or punchline.com as it used to be at the turn of the century. You know, back when we use to say things like “you’re a dumbass dot com”? I’m not saying I’ll never use one but as Victor suggest, I’ll be more considerate when using them.

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