Hashtags the majority of us know that they are also called the pound sign, or Number sign. Either way in social media it is a way to collect different lines of thought under one category.

There have been social media blunders due to the nature of hashtags.  To many, hashtags are a way to see if a thought has gone viral. Then again it can be used for a conversation as in Twitter chats .

With how most people understanding what a hashtag is. I find it stupefying and my  Gast becomes very fabbered when I hear of an American company not understanding the concept of hashtags. The most recent example is the United States Olympic Committee. The US Olympic Committee is threatening to sue any company, organization, entity or flea that shows pride in their country USA. If you want to talk about the Olympics, you could possibly be sued. Heck because I am talking about the Olympics. The USOC could get mad about me using the hashtags #Rio2016 #TeamUSA. So, this company could risk being sued into oblivion.

Why would they do that?

facepalm

Well in all truthfulness I can sort of understand. The USOC wants to protect their sponsors. The sponsoring companies have shelled out huge amounts of money to support our team. The USOC doesn’t want for other smaller companies to do what is called Newsjack the Olympics. So in doing so the USOC has shown the world that America doesn’t understand social media. The USOC is obviously a bunch of old gray hair people who are not with it. This committee could possibly be the one yelling “GET OFF MY LAWN!”

Yet these folks wouldn’t have a job. Unless Coke-a-Cola, AirWeave, or McDonalds were sponsors. So, they are going to do everything they can to make sure their sponsors are safe.

Newsjacking?

Yep, it is an actual term. To quote NewsJacking.com

Newsjacking is the art and science of injecting your ideas into a breaking news story and generating tons of media coverage and social media engagement.

When done right, it is talked about and cheered. The iconic example of this is Oreo Cookies and the “You can still dunk in the dark” Tweet. This Tweet went out during a sudden power outage during the 2013 super bowl.

When done wrong you get the online equivalent of being tarred and feathered.

wpid-sears
Yeah it was quickly deleated

Sears blundered on this big time with their Hurricane Sandy tweet.

Just a quick rule of thumb if it is a cheer-worthy event newsjack the crap out of it. If it is causing pain, don’t newsjack. Show sympathy.

Yet this one of the reasons that the USOC is being the overly major grump butt. They know that there are going to be a lot of cheer-worthy events happening and if companies jump into the celebration they are going to steal the proverbial thunder from their sponsors.

What a hashtag isn’t?

a_game_face_for_the_ages_from_michael_phelps_m7
Even Phelps isn’t happy

I want to review what a hashtag is and isn’t.

The big one is hashtags are not Copyrightable. If you put it out onto Facebook Twitter, Instagram or the like that hashtag is fair game. Yeah, you may get a government agency to say it is covered. Yet, if you want to invoke the wrath of the internet Then ban people from using that “Offical” hashtag. You will lose all control of that hashtag. Your company will become the laughing stock online. It will be ridiculed relentlessly by just about everyone. Even, possibly, your best friends grandmother.

A hashtag is beyond your control. Just look at #myNYPD hashtag. New Yorks finest didn’t expect the negative direction the hashtag #myNYPD took. Now instead of showing the good that New York City Police Department does that hashtag is an edless stream of people complaining. Once birthed hashtags have a life of their own.

So how is the USOC getting it wrong with Hashtags?

lindsay-facepalm

The USOC with all of their out-of-date thinking could of use these hashtags as a means to show the world America is still united. If the USOC hadn’t of been stuck in the 80’s they would see that #Rio2016 would have still pointed at them. It would have been under a better light. The reach would be even greater.

The internet has opened up a whole new way of doing buisness and there really isn’t any room for a limited way of doing business in the old form. That is one reason Net Neutrality is such a bad idea. You have to have a different line of thinking.

Social media is one manifestation of that new line of thinking. People will gather around good news. they will excoriate those who try to control it. The less you hold onto an idea the easier it is to flourish.

The United States Olympic committee could use much different non-douchy and less facepalm-worthy tactics. that would show that they get it. Show that America is still a leader in innovation and free thought. To do that, you have to let other people have access to the fire that is your thought. If a small mom and pop store tweets congrats to their grandchild who just won a gold for an event. Why should they worry about the  stomping them into oblivion?

As social media continues to propagate throughout the world. More and more people are being introduced to the hashtags. It will become clearer that hashtags are good and are helpful in getting your thoughts out. Yet, there are still those of us who know the power of a hashtag. We will still use it effectively. If you are with the USOC and want help in doing your social media correct let me know I can help.

Also if I find a reason to newsjack #Rio2016 or #TeamUSA I will. Oh wait, I just did.

#TeamUSA #Rio2016

Quick note: I was actually going to have this post last week but when I mess up I really mess up. so not to our regularly scheduled blog post.

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Bryan Goodwin

Social Media Manager at Goodwin Social Media
Bryan has been in the social media field in one form or another. whether it is blogging, podcasting, or trying out the latest social network . There is a good chance that you will find him talking somewhere.
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Olympic sized Hashtag Blunder #TeamUSA #Rio2016
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