After reading a few tweets today expressing confusion about a conference hashtag, I realized it would be nice to have some guidance as to how to go about choosing a hashtag for an upcoming conference. Here’s a step-by-step:
1. Pick a short hashtag that adequately represents the conference. If your organization is called “National Association of Student Personnel Administrators,” then #naspa would make sense. While student affairs/higher education professionals have preferred adding a year, there is evidence to suggest that including no year in the hashtag is more frequent throughout the Twitterverse. The goal is to pick as short of a hashtag as possible that will describe the event. You don’t want to cut into people’s tweets— they only have 140 characters available, after all.
2. Do a Twitter search of the hashtag you selected. If nothing comes up in your search, then do a little bit more checking: Ask your colleagues attending the conference and the conference organizers if they are aware of a hashtag for the event. You don’t want to duplicate effort. If there is no other hashtag in use for the event and if the hashtag you selected isn’t already in use, stake a claim. Send a tweet stating “I claim the #myhashtag for the 2010 My Hashtag National Conference.”
If the hashtag you picked is already in use by another organization, cause, or person, go back to step 1.
3. Contact the organizers of the conference and tell them you have claimed a hashtag. Ask them if they would please promote the hashtag to their members and conference attendees.
4. Promote the hashtag everywhere. Tell your colleagues who are attending the conference, post it on your blog, and send it via the conference/organization listserv, if any.
5. Enjoy using your newly created hashtag to engage conference participants.
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