Posts Tagged ‘hashtags’



March 30, 2011

If you think about it, tags make a lot of sense in a social media context. We can apply personally significant tags to content that we upload – tags that are meaningful and useful to us in a given context. It wouldn’t make sense to use a set of controlled vocabulary to organize user-generated content, because the controlled vocabulary would limit the way we could meaningfully identify items we have uploaded – whether we are talking about images, videos or text. I was struck by the significance of tagging social media content in a recent interview of Dan Savage speaking about videos that have been uploaded to a YouTube channel as part of the “It Gets Better” campaign to support LGBT teens. He talked about the need for these thousands of videos to be catalogued – by tagging them – so that they could be searched and accessed by teens for support for years to come. In the interview Savage explains, “Now the goal is to get them all [the videos] tagged, make them all sortable, create playlists so that, for instance, the trans kids who come to the website can more easily find the videos from trans adults speaking of their experiences that are relevant.”

You can take a listen to the whole interview here.

Over the last week or two, I finally got comfortable using Twitter. It has been remarkable watching Twitter users responding to some of the big events unfolding in the world and in Canada. For instance, I was on Twitter when Jack Layton announced that he would not be supporting the Conservative budget – to the surprise of most political analysts who were predicting he would wait a day to consult with his party. It was interesting to observe the tweets coming in over the next few days, leading up to the election announcement, and how the popular hashtags changed over time – initially people were using #bdgt11 but then switched to #elxn41, #elxn11, #cdnpoli, and now #coalition. I’m sure there will be new hashtags that emerge over the course of the election campaign in response to whatever new developments or scandals make the news. Hashtags appear to very fluid – evolving and responding to current events – in a way that a controlled vocabulary never could.

Summarizr is an interesting site I found that tracks Twitter hashtag statistics – I used it to find out statistics for the hashtag #cdnpoli. You can check out the results here.