How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Hashtag

by Christine Anne George

Once upon a time, I was anti-Twitter and no fan of hashtags. My reasons were long, varied, and, in my eyes, entirely legitimate. My personal biases bled into the professional. I was quick to embrace the UB (SUNY at Buffalo) Law Library’s blog and Facebook page. But its Twitter account? Nope. We set it up so that our Facebook account automatically posted to Twitter. I thought that was fine until the day when I logged into the Twitter account and saw that we had over a thousand followers. We only had a couple hundred likes on Facebook, and Facebook was making it harder and harder to be seen. My loyalties changed accordingly.

In the past year, I’ve learned to love hashtags, mostly because some of them have been really fun and have led to some interesting interactions. For example, EveryLibrary Artist-in-Residence Steve Kemple declared November 18, 2015, High-Five A Librarian Day. I participated with a tweet and got high fives from a several different departments at UB.

Since then, I try to partake in UB-wide hashtags, like the NCAA tournament hoopla.

More recently, I’ve been trying to partake in trending hashtags. One of my earliest attempts was #NationalCookieDay.

When I saw the Florida Bar’s #lawyersarethecoolest was trending for over 24 hours a couple weeks ago, I knew that I had to get in on that action with a bit of law librarian love.

On Tuesday, I hopped on the trending bandwagon once again to mark Be Kind to Lawyers Day and National Grilled Cheese Day. It’s been our most successful trending hashtag tweet yet.

I’ve found that there are some definite benefits to Team Hashtag. Using institution-wide hashtags helps build relationships with other units. They become aware that you are active on social media and can sometimes come through when you need to get the word out. Using trending hashtags—as appropriate, of course—can help you gain new followers that might not have been aware of you otherwise. Depending on what you use your Twitter account for, having a broader follower base, beyond your institution, can be a good thing. It can draw attention to your events and work. Since I use the UB Law Library’s Twitter account to promote faculty scholarship, I want people beyond Buffalo following us.

Like any new convert, I think that my enthusiasm might be a bit much. Now whenever discussing promoting or covering events on Twitter, I’m the Martin Sheen of the group, demanding to know what the hashtag is going to be. What can I say? #HashtagLoverProblems

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