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Common hashtag usage questions answered on this week’s #twubchat

This week on our weekly #twubchat conversation, we discuss the most common hashtag questions we hear at Twubs. Since 2009 Twubs has been working with brands to navigate the social media conversations around their hashtags and was the first hashtag registry to exist. We interview Twubs’ Chief Technical Officer to get his answers to the most frequently asked questions around hashtags.

Interview Summary

How long have hashtags been around? 

The first usage of a hashtag is said to have been by Chris Messina in August 2007 (read about it here). They were created so Twitter users could self-organize content around topics of interest. The first explosion of hashtag use Twubs saw was in 2009 when the news of the Iran elections was followed globally with the hashtag #iranelections. Since then and particularly since 2012, hashtags have been used by Twitter users, marketers, event producers and content producers making it into popular culture.

Why would someone register a hashtag? 

Hashtags are not regulated by ICANN like domain names, so technically anyone can use them. However, registering a hashtag on Twubs does two things: first, it unlocks tools such as a moderated, customizable landing page for the hashtag registrant to use. Second, it protects the brand’s claim of ownership by showing activity around the hashtag.

Registration doesn’t mean ownership. You can’t technically own a hashtag, but you can certainly own the conversation around the topic. — David Mathis

Who really owns a hashtag?

You need to consult a lawyer for this expertise, however registering a hashtag on Twubs documents that you had intent to use the hashtag for a legitimate purpose. You do so for a position of influence rather than legal ownership. Showing you’ve used it from a certain date is a preemptive move on a smart brand’s part just as claiming your brand’s user name across social channels.

Why is Tweet to Screen moderation important at events?

It’s important to control what is displayed up front on screen at events, to ensure that what’s seen aligns with your brand’s message. Unscrupulous Twitter users will post content using a popular hashtag to garner exposure for their off-topic message. Moderation gives event organizers control over what is seen. Troublesome accounts can be blocked, tweets can be approved.

Which platforms does Twubs Tweet-to-Screen pull from?

We have clients who pull in updates from Twitter and Instagram to be displayed on a screen up front which their audiences love seeing. Currently this is a custom application that Twubs creates for Enterprise Accounts.

Catch the Blab replay here: