Hashtags as a Global Language

Over the past few weeks, I’ve stepped up efforts to connect with Gov 2.0 types outside of the U.S. Looking at the Twitter community in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, helped in this, as did tweets in Japanese about Gov 2.0 Camp LA. Monday, I learned about a mature and vibrant Gov 2.0-oriented community in the Netherlands, and event got a little lesson in Dutch.
I’d already connected through the U.S.-based GovLoop with like minds in the U.K, Australia, and New Zealand, but as Twitter grows internationally, I’m struck by the universal nature of hashtags. Not just a fun semantic tool or event aggregator, issue tags easily cross language barriers that are more limiting on static sites. See, I had no idea that ambtenaar + civil servant, but when I see #gov20 pop up in tweets I can’t read, it’s plenty easy to run that message through an online translator. Connection established.

Now please excuse me, I’m off to read Ambtenaar20.nl.

~ Adriel Hampton is a San Francisco public servant and host of the Gov 2.0 Radio podcast. Follow him on Twitter @adrielhampton.

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Patrick Allmond

The thing that makes hashtags a blessing is also what makes them difficult to use. Anybody can use anything. As a result you can have 10 different conversations going on twitter using 10 different hashtags, but the conversations are all about the same event/location. I still use them when possible – but it really requires a strong coordinated effort to get any value out of them.