The personal website of Chris Coyier

I Still Kinda Don’t Get Event-Based Hashtags

I think I understand hashtags in general. On services, like Twitter, that support them, I can put a word like #party and, when published, it becomes a link to some listings page of posts that also use that same hashtag. They are user-generated classifications that help users get to related posts. Discoverability, I suppose. Make a tag unique enough, and you might have it all to yourself.

But events use them all the time. They ask attendees to use the hash tag.

I’m at #CoolConf. Woohoo!!!!!!

Now if some other user clicks the #CoolConf link, they’ll see posts from other people who used the same hashtag. Except, with no context at all.

What’s the event about? Where is it? Who runs it?

I hesitate to use the hashtag because I worry people will click it and be totally confused about the lack of context.

I’d rather use the handle of the conference itself. That way you’ve included something that if someone else clicks on, it has a profile attached to it that explains the context of the conference.

Plus, you’ve still included a unique bit of text that makes the related posts searchable. So if I’m searching for posts from a conference, I can search for “CoolConf”, and get posts that both mention @CoolConf and use the hashtag #CoolConf.

Another benefit to using a mention is unique properties of it on platforms. On Twitter, if I start a Tweet with an @mention of a specific account, it won’t show that tweet to my followers who don’t follow that account. Some people use that to scope tweets to a certain event, so you are participating in a conversation with other conference people, but not bothering your other followers.

In that sense, a @mention is just like a more-useful hashtag. Right?! Or am I missing something here?