(Original post at www.kristyfifelski.com.)
I attended the 2010 Women’s Summit in Reno, Nevada, on June 1. Attendees were very excited for keynote speaker Michelle Obama and several expert panels, and were tweeting up a storm with notable takeaways and observations. But with no formal hashtag announced, we used what personally seemed logical to us. Several threads emerged, such as #nvws, #wms, #nvwomen, and #nvws2010. Finally, prolific tweeter Nevada legislator @DavidBobzien noted this and sent out a tweet to get us all using the same hashtag. I’m not sure that all events are lucky enough to get their hashtags sorted out midstream.
Promoting a hashtag is simple, and we should be using them nowadays even for government special events. Include it at the bottom of your press releases and post it on other social media channels of course. Have an event organizer be the official tweeter from the organizing agency perspective (here is a great example of how the USGS displays their Tweet Chat Archive. On GovLoop, Scott Horvath recommends setting up a second Twitter account specifically for event tweeting – don’t want to annoy your regular followers with all your event tweets). I spoke at a SCAN NATOA conference last week, and they placed the hashtag on the PowerPoint slide attendees saw as they filtered in the room. Good idea.
Make a hashtag announcement at the start of the event
Make an announcement about the official event hashtag when you do the other typical housekeeping items at the very start of an event. The obvious reason is so attendees know what hashtag to use, but a secondary reason is because it’s another opportunity to show the audience that you are hip to how people are using social media.