Sunday, February 12, 2012

Choosing an Election Hashtag

Nation, the Twitter is here to stay. Whenever I'm feeling particularly optimistic about the world, or about this species we call humanity, I know I can log on to Twitter and find all the spin, talking points, brainless repetition, paid retweets of months-old articles, and innuendo that it will take to cure me of my optimism.

And that's just from the Bieber fans. Wait until I search the POLITICS streams...

Social Media matters, and one of the battlegrounds in the upcoming provincial election in Alberta is going to be the virtual battleground of Twitter.  Candidates, parties, and their supporters are going to be trying to get the message out, change hearts and minds, or (at the very least) cast stones at their opponents.

But, how to FIND all of this political chum in the ocean that is the Twittersphere?

By using hashtags, of course.

The use of hashtags in your posts makes it easier for interested people to find you, and your posts. They help you get your message out. The problem with them, though, is that they eat into your 140 character limit...  consider that the Tweeps of Calgary voted to go with "#yycvote" rather than "#yycvotes" during the 2010 Municipal Election, because there was one fewer character in the former - giving them one more character to make their point with.

Indeed, your average Alberta Election tweet at this point is overrun with hashtags...  consider this gem from this morning:

RajShermanMLA wrote:
@ppilarski #ableg #pcaa #wrp #ablib #elxnpc I am just pointing out Corruption and Illegal donations received by PC's #donationgate
Dr. Sherman used 130 of his 140 characters - but 41 of them were used on hastags. The longest message he could type, and still use the hashtags he wanted, was 99 characters - putting him at a distinct disadvantage. But, without a clear convention or an accepted "general" hashtag for the upcoming election, Raj included the hashtags for Alberta's Legislature (the closest thing we have at this point to a generally accepted political "catch-all" hashtag in Alberta), the PC Party, the Wildrose Party (for some reason), the Alberta Liberals, the hashtag that has been used for PC Nominations and their Campaign College event this past weekend, and "#donationgate", an extremely creative and not-at-all-dated reference to what Raj's party was until recently calling the "Warlords of Alberta" issue.

Indeed, further scanning of the twittersphere shows hashtags in use related to specific constituencies, hashtags that double as slogans for supporters of certain parties, city hashtags, party hashtags, attempts at Election hashtags hoping they'll catch on...

So, long story short: We need to agree on a hashtag that will be the "General Election hashtag" for Alberta in 2012. One that the public, candidates, media and parties alike will use, so we know where to post, and where to look for information. Having to search 5 or 6 hashtags to get your election information is silly - and few people will bother, rendering the whole exercise futile and neutering Twitter as an effective campaigning tool for EVERYONE. #yycvote worked because ultimately ALL of the candidates were using it - so the general public knew they had to only search that term to find their information. And boy, did they ever engage.

I will list below, in no particular order, the hashtags I've seen being used for Alberta's 2012 election thus far. If you have other suggestions, please "Comment" on this post, and I will include them in a subsequent Blog Poll.

The nice thing about Twitter is that it's truly social - we have as much say as any backroom party strategist, and the majority will well and truly rule.

So... let's nominate some contenders, and elect a winner.

Thus far, I've seen:









If you have OTHER suggestions, please post them as a comment. Nominations will close on Tuesday, and voting will begin Tuesday night.

- E.S.


Enlightened Savage said...

Via Twitter, TheInvisibleDan suggests "#ab12".

Short, to the point. It's on the ballot.

Thanks, Mr. Invisible! ;)

Anonymous said...

I got a good laugh. Raj's disadvantage ia actually lack of character, not lack of characters. Anyway, how about #11str8?

Enlightened Savage said...

Anon: Clever, but I somehow doubt the opposition parties and their supporters will want to use it, thus defeating the purpose. :P

Anonymous said...

Great post Mr. 0! I notice since your defeat you've been less...well...savage! Even on Twitter where 'friends' like Shane B (who should have given you an endorsement BTW) 'rant' in stark contrast to their nice-guy image and PC MLA's turn positively into bullies, you're taken the high road. #lovethenewyou

The Invisible Hand said...

I'm a bit torn between #ab12 and #abvote. The former is shorter, but the latter has a clearer meaning when seen by a casual observer/tweeter.

daveberta said...

I am using #abvote because it is an action and clearer than the obscure #ab12 or #elxnab for Albertans and Twitter users who are not obsessed with politics (ie: most of Albertans and most Twitter users).