Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Dictionary.com defines hashtag as:

  [hash-tag]  noun
1.(on social-networking Web sites) a word or phrase precededby a hash mark (#), used within a message to identify akeyword or topic of interest and facilitate a search for it:The hashtag #sandiegofire was used to help coordinate anemergency response to the fire.
a hash mark used in this way.

I know a number of my readers aren’t on Twitter, so I thought I’d first brief you on what a hashtag is. You may have seen people use this on Facebook, but basically the # mark is used in front or behind a word to group what you are talking about. For instance, on a Saturday during college football season, if I’m talking about the Mountaineers, I’d write, “Let’s Go Mountaineers #WVU” That means my conversation is now lumped in with others talking about WVU.  

Well the new must have trend in the event planning industry is creating a hastag for a big party, event or even a…gasp…wedding! That way your social active guests can Tweet and tag comments about your shin dig.

While comments on your event CAN POSSIBLY be negative, some planners are still taking the risk to live stream comments via the hashtag on screens around the event. That way, if you Tweet about the event, while at the event, you can see your comment to all of the room. Oh and speaking of negative comments, if you have someone monitoring the hashtag at your event, you can potentially solve problems. For instance, at an event I hosted last month, we helped someone log on to the internet after we saw that they were having issues via chatter on the hashtag. 

I mentioned before that people are incorporating hashtags to their wedding. In fact, USA Today covered the impact of social media on weddings last month. While the story really doesn’t justify why people are creating wedding hashtags, let me add that it could be cool the next day to capture what your friends had to say about the event and save those memories! 

So how do you let people know what your event hashtag is? Make some signs around the room, the bar, on the invite that lets guests know in advance what everyone will be using. You can also Tweet about it ; )

My take on this: people (including myself) need to put down the phone and enjoy the event ; ) But I still recognize that this is a growing trend and sometimes you just need to embrace it for those that are into social media.