Twitter is the microblogging service that lets people post short, 140-character messages and share them online. Here in Asheville, Twitter’s a popular way to communicate and socialize–and the driving force behind that useful feed of snow-related info you see in the right-hand sidebar of this blog during bad winter weather.
Hashtags are the text “tags” people include in Twitter messages to add context or to make sure their messages are included in any search for a particular topic.
Here in Asheville, many Twitter users tag their messages with the family of hashtags that start with “#avl” (Asheville’s airport code and common abbreviation).
Here’s some of Asheville’s most popular local hashtags, and what kinds of messages they appear with (if it’s not obvious). Note that all hashtags start with the pound sign “#”. CLICK EACH TAG TO SEE EXAMPLES:
Other local hashtags:
UPDATED 12/15: added some important tags we forgot!
#avlbeer (thanks David!)
#avlkids and #avlfam news for parents and families
#avlgov for government info & great Mountain Xpress City Council coverage
#avlelect election season news
#avlout news and info for outdoor enthusiasts; nature events
#avlag agriculture news and info
#avlenv environmental news and info
#avlgb green business
#shopavl or #avlbiz sales and shopping info
#avlgay for gay news and entertainment
A few location hashtags:
#NAvl, #SAvl, #EAvl, #WAvl (useful, obviously, for letting people know what part of town this news applies to)
A great example of a hashtag is one that’s a home run every year in winter: #avlsnomg. (This tag can be roughly translated as “Oh my god, it’s snowing in Asheville.”) When people in Asheville share winter storm information on Twitter both serious (school closings) and silly (sledding videos), it’s a common practice to use this tag.
Using Twitter hashtags like #avlsnomg ensures a few important things:
- the Twitter message will show up in Twitter content feeds on local websites like BlogAsheville and Mountain Xpress (in winter, my snowstorm tweet about a downed tree in my neighborhood will show up on a news website, reaching a larger audience who needs to know about this news to avoid this hazard)
- the Twitter message will show up in any searches for that hashtag (someone searching for snow information might search that tag to see how roads are in her neighborhood)
- for anyone who reads the message in real time as it appears on Twitter, the message will be clearly marked as relating a particular topic (for #avlsnomg, winter storm info)
Here’s an old Twitter Best Practices document fellow local social media consultant Wendy Lou and I made for a series of community workshops we did in 2009 and 2010. Enjoy!