Developing new hashtags

twitter-bird-light-bgsI tweet a lot of Internet governance meetings in realtime. It can be hard to summarize what someone has said in only 140 characters.  If the meeting has chosen a really long hashtag, it further reduces the total number of characters available for the informational part of the tweet.

Therefore, here is my totally subjective  plea for those developing hashtags for use during Internet governance discussions:

  • Shorter is better! It allows people to use more of their allotted 140 characters to tweet more information about the topic
  • Check if it’s already being used for another topic. In 2010, the hashtag for the ITU Plenipotentiary, #PP10, was also being used by another group… gamers, I think.
  • If including the year in a hashtag for an event, unless you think it might be confused with an event from last or next century, seriously consider only using the last two digits of the year. For example, #IGF13 rather than #IGF2013.
  • If you’re holding an event, make sure you publicize the hashtags for event well in advance. Otherwise, there’ll be a period of competing hashtags as participants gradually converge (hopefully) on a consensus way to label the meeting.
  • If you are going to use a particularly inscrutable hashtag, understood only by a few insiders, and probably only by English speakers, make sure you document somewhere what it means.

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