Posted on 28 July 2013
#princegeorge is broken. Will we use #pgbc, #cityofPG, #yxs, or something new?
I know tone is a thing that’s easily lost in translation, so I get that plenty of people who read my open letter to Will and Kate and my subsequent tweets about the royal baby being named “Prince George” didn’t get that there was a fair amount of self-deprecation involved- as in, seriously, how can someone be this upset about a city’s Twitter hashtag being taken over by a baby? Trust me, I’m aware that in Maslow’s hiearchy of needs, my concerns about Google news alerts are floating in a hot air balloon somewhere above the pyramid, they are so far beyond what most people would consider a problem.
The truth is, I figured people would spend a few days getting excited about the baby and then we could all go back to using #princegeorge to talk about the city of Prince George. Sure, there would be the occasional Tweet about the baby Prince George, but those could easily by skimmed over and ignored. I honestly didn’t think a new hashtag would be necessary.
I think I was wrong.
This morning, taking a scan of 100 tweets tagged with #princegeorge, only about five of them are about the city and the rest are about the royal baby. I used to be able to check on this tag in the morning and in 100 tweets I would basically be caught up on the last 24-hours of pictures, news, and thoughts people had on what was going on around the city. Going through 24-hours of tweets now looks like it would take at least forty-five minutes, probably more. As much as me writing blog posts like this one seems to contradict that, I don’t have that sort of time to waste.
I’m not alone. I know people at other media outlets like to stay on top of what’s happening in the city, too. There’s city councillors who do, indeed, use Twitter as a pulse-taker. And organizations like Tourism Prince George monitor online discussion about the city so they can help people out looking for places to stay or things to do. It has become a useful tool for discussion about the city, and as it stands now, it’s broken.
With the #princegeorge hashtag out of commission, at least for the moment, I’m seeing people use alternatives. This is fine, but they are all headed in different directions which isn’t so great for unifying conversation around a subject, which is what a hashtag is for. So I’m starting a discussion on the merits of various alternatives in the hopes that a consensus can be reached. I’ll outline what I see as the pros and cons of the main alternatives, and I’m inviting other Twitter users to join the discussion. I’m using Branch for it, and anyone is welcome to join in, too- just tweet me if you have something to say.
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