Posts Tagged ‘Recommendations’

Five Recommendations for Picking a Twitter Hashtag

February 10, 2011 1 comment

Don't be a Salmon Swimming Upstream - Consider What Your Hashtags Say

1) Keep it Simple: Tweets are limited to 140 characters, so each one has to count.  Keep hashtags as short as possible, but also as simple as possible (easy-to-spell words, common characters, etc.).  Consider, also, that the people participating in the discussion are likely doing so via mobile devices – so the less they have to key in, the better.  Better to add a letter than use a character like an underscore, which requires smartphone users to press two buttons (shift/function + the assigned key).

2) Consider Outside Audiences: One of the reasons to use hashtags is to promote an organization, topic or event to people who aren’t familiar with it.  If this is one of your concerns, make sure your hashtag is intelligible to people outside your organization.

3) Don’t Redefine the Lexicon:  Changing the language people use is exceptionally difficult, much like swimming upstream to spawn (or at least I would assume – I’ve never done it myself).  If words already have widely-accepted meanings, stick to them.  Communication is only possible because we all agree that symbols (ie words) carry certain meanings.

4) Step Back and Read Your Hashtag:  Before you launch a hashtag, check it first.  In our quest to be brief, we often create acronyms that are problematic.  My favorite example (and also one of my favorite Twitter discussion groups) is #prStudchat.  It’s an online discussion for students (which I highly-recommend) – but it has the unfortunate quality of looking like an erotic discussion forum.  Fortunately that hasn’t hurt their content any, but you can imagine the ramifications if a different group with a more conservative bend were to expose themselves to ridicule with that sort of tag.

5) Index Your Hashtag: Frequently the events or issues we want to discuss are reoccurring.  If it’s appropriate, add a date, location, or some other distinguishing feature so that one iteration of the discussion can be kept separate from another.

While we’re on the subject of Twitter – if you haven’t seen it already, there’s a pretty smashing database of hundreds of Twitter chat events that require only a hashtag to participate in.  Check it out at


Recommended Slideware: Prezi

February 24, 2010 Leave a comment

A few people have asked what I used for the slideshow that accompanied my Social Media Best Practices presentation; it’s a web-based tool called Prezi (  If you’re so inclined, you can interact with the slideshow here.

an example of a Prezi presentation

A screenshot of my Prezi slides.

It gives you a huge canvas to work with and streamlines the process of putting together a slideshow by limiting the options for adding content.  One of the coolest features of Prezi is that you can either map out a path you’d like to navigate through OR you can click on any item to zoom in on it (giving one a lot of flexibility in doing an extemporaneous presentation).  In addition to online hosting – Prezi offers the option of downloading your slideshow as a flash document.

The only problem I’ve had with Prezi is that on occasion it will fail to load images that I’ve uploaded (they just go dead and never fully load and one has to delete them and replace them.  Other than that the experience has been excellent.

For my peeps in education, Prezi currently offers a free education package – for details click here.