I was at the Charisma Bootcamp conference last weekend, organised by Owen Fitzpatrick, it was absolutely brilliant and I have lots of content to share with you. So why is this post about hashtags rather than charisma? Because there wasn’t one in use at the conference and I really missed it for a variety of reasons. I’m not saying that the absence of the hashtag affected the content of the conference in any way but one effect it had was it pushed me right outside my comfort zone.
What Is A Hashtag?
A hashtag is a word that is used after the symbol #. It can be used for a variety of reasons but it is generally used to bring attention to a particular topic and to unite tweeters. Topics can trend on twitter depending on how often the word or hashtag is used. You may often hear television presenters or radio DJs announcing what the hashtag is so that viewers can engage in an online conversation and provide feedback or questions to the producers, for example, #vinb for Tonight with Vincent Browne
A hashtag is a word used to summarise the conference after this symbol # and if tweeters click on it, they can see all the tweets related to that hashtag. The conference organisers should test the hashtag beforehand (to ensure it isn’t been used for other purposes) and should announce it. We use #klck for all our KLCK meetings and for generating interest in the run up to our monthly meetings.
Using Hashtags At Conferences
I have been using hashtags frequently to promote upcoming conferences, to share the content at the conference with those who cannot be there and to connect with others at the conference.
As most of the recent conferences I’ve attended have been based on social media, a hashtag was provided and many of the delegates used it. Of last weekend’s conference, very few people were on twitter and of those, very few were tweeting. I really missed the use of the hashtag. Why?
- It was an excellent conference and I wanted to share some of the nuggets of wisdom with my followers.
- I often use my tweets with hashtags as a form of note-taking to look back at later. 140 characters is perfect for notetaking.
- However, as I was the only person using the hashtag I’d invented (I discovered later that two or three others had used a different hashtag and tweeted with it a few times), I felt I was tweeting in a vacuum, I really missed the engagement of seeing what other delegates thought of the presentations and how they were absorbing the content.
- I had forgotten how shy I am and how difficult I find going up to strangers at coffee and making conversation. Given that the conference was about ‘charisma’ I guess we were supposed to be practising what we were learning by chatting to strangers but I had become so accustomed to making connections with other tweeters via the hashtag and then arranging to meet at coffee.
- A hashtag creates rapport between people who are meeting for the first time – you gain a sense of the other person’s personality from their tweets and you know you have interests in common.