Hashtags 101 #NCASC #NCASC13

I’m the first to admit that when it comes to social media there are no rules, just preferences. However I’m so disappointed to see the same mistake/missed opportunity/confusion two years running by people who, as communications professionals, I think should know better @LGAComms that I’m venting here.

My ideal would be that they see this, perhaps acknowledge it and better still make sure they don’t do it again!!! All of that said, the disclaimer stands, I’m not the arbiter of good social media practices, this is just my view, end of.

So what am I venting about? Hashtags, that’s what. I think there are only really two rules when it comes to hashtags:

1) Make them short and relevant
2) Pick one and stick to it.

Last year I blogged after the National Children and Adult Services Conference about how it appeared that #socialcare was finally getting on board with the potential of social media. This year it appears to be even more so as there are 123 tweeps attending next week according to the delegate list, you can access a twitter list of all of them here (and let me know if you’re missing and would like adding).

So what is the problem I hear you ask? #NCASC is a short and relevant hashtag, indeed it was even publicised early (first appearance circa June 2013) and it’s obvious. Great, better still people had started to use it. Then last week the confusion starts and the Local Government Association (LGA) decide that they’ll go with #NCASC13.

Two problems from where I’m sat:
1) It’s too late to change when people have already been using the other hashtag

2) Why has this happened again? Last year the opening slide and programme each had different hashtags, yep you’ve guessed it #NCASC and #NCASC12… resulting in lots of confusion, back channel grumbles and missed opportunities to connect and make the most of the opportunity to engage people (especially those not in the room) with the conversations at conference.

If this was some small, locally organised get together I’d forgive the error, but two years running, from an organisation that is meant to represent local government, seriously tweeps, is time to get the act together!!

PS: LGAComms confirmed this evening that the official hashtag is #NCASC13 and that they’ll share that with partners. It appears that emails were going out as late as Friday still using #NCASC so hopefully someone will take the time to find and replace all the instances and also to let exhibitors, delegates and speakers know. I hope not many exhibitors have bothered to incorporate the hashtag into their marketing efforts or they might be slightly non plussed, but for now it is good to have clarity as to what should be used from here on in. 

Can also confirm that next year’s will be #NCASC14 …heard it hear first, if anyone is still using twitter by then of course.

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