Creating #hashtags for the people and by the people
March 10, 2010 2 Comments
Recently I came across an interesting question out on LinkedIn that was asked by a woman by the name of Dawn Boyer. She asked: Should Congress have this type of social media communications in committee? Dawn makes the case:
“Many citizens have been screaming, ‘There is no transparency in congressional chambers – too many behind closed doors discussions!’
What would happen if CNN, CSPAN, FOX, and other news media have a little competition in that viewers could Twitter, IM, or Post to the Wall in a Social Media – like commentary from the American Public during the committee meetings, while they are televised, so congressional aides can gather data from those feeds to get an ‘idea’ of what the American People are thinking as the discussions take place?”
My expanded response to this question is this: Something similar has already been done. The Obama Campaign got it right and proved that social media can be used effectively in business and politics. They are still using it as an effective tool and to have meaningful dialogue around important causes. During the Obama / McCain debates information was being addressed in real time via Twitter by the Obama Campaign and the people observing it, with the use of #hashtags. Anything that McCain would give a fact that was incorrect, the Obama Campaign responded right a way by tweeting Fact Checks. It was fascinating to watch.
What if Congress provided the media with a hashtag that can be used for everyone’s reference. Each hashtag could be issue specific but in a format so everyone knows it is governmental. I am not suggesting that Congress uses it to tweet, but rather the public could use it as a place to share their sentiments. Congress, journalists and bloggers could use some of the insight for media stories or voting to pass or veto bills. A similar example that comes to mind is we know what type of website we are going to that ends in .edu (educational institutions) or .org (non-profit organizations) or .com.
It’s been said that the government is slow to adapt to new technologies. They have to start sooner rather than later in this area when it comes to social media. Our governmental representatives have a duty to listen to the people and social media can be a tool to help. I believe the initiative should be initiated by the people. We see it everyday on Twitter when hot topics trend occure via #hashtags that someone starts.
In order for social media work, whether in government or the general public, the first step is to listen to what is being said. There is a place for social media in politics. As citizens, it is our role to initiate the process and make the suggestions.
There are many people out who don’t understand what “listening to internet chatter” means. In case you are one of those people, please refer to an older post I wrote called, “Did you know you can listen to the internet? I hope you find it helpful. Chime in, please share your thoughts below! Kakie Fitzsimmons