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So who decides the hashtags for the Scottish elections?

Great post by Edinburgh City Council PR supremo Stewart Argo over on the social media business networking site LinkedIn that raises an interesting question about the upcoming Scottish elections – but also elections in general: who decides what the official hashtag is? Not just for the main event, but at a more local constituency level?

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If we leave it to the wisdom of the crowds it’ll be a free for all with various hashtags popping up, coming and going, some sticking, some not – and all probably at the last minute. But that will make it hard for anyone wanting to follow all the action from one place.

So who decides then? Local authorities? Scottish Government? The media? Would they need a committee? Would it be able to meet in time? Would people abide by what they say? Should it be two hashtags? a generic #scotelect followed by constituency or should it just be one to prevent people seeing stuff they don’t want #orkneyelect #glaspollockelect and so on?

It’s a cracker of a question to pose – but is there an answer?

Feel free to discuss the article in the comments section below or drop Craig McGill an email about social media.

    • It does indeed Moray but what do we do for each seat. Shorten down the name? I wonder if there’s a way of getting enough Scottish bloggers and tweeters to agree on a set list that it becomes what is used for elections by everyone.

  1. Jason Wassell

    Moray is right in that we seem to see #sp11 as a nice short hashtag. Interesting question, as these hashtags could become really important assets in the online battle. I jokingly sent you a tweet saying that the Electoral Commission should register some hashtags, but regulation and control would be just too difficult.

    I have already seen some interesting uses of hashtags like #SNPBrokenPromise, which was as much about generating coverage as using twitter as the channel of communication.

  2. Yep, #sp11 is very much in use – perhaps the naming convention should be the main hashtag followed by the constituency name or abbreviation – but as you say – who decides? We need a referendum.

  3. Stephen Noon

    #sp11 certainly seems to be emerging as the front runner although there are others in the field. Perhaps a ‘neutral’ needs to contact the various campaign comms teams and the tweeting journalists to see about getting some agreement?

  4. Stewart Argo

    #sp11 is nice and easy and we may well use that. The tricky bit is constituencies. Is Edinburgh Central going to be #edinburgh_central #edcentral #edincentral #edinburghC or any number of other permutations?

    Since I posted on Linked In I found (by tedious searching in Twitter) what I was originally referring to:

    @chasbooth @Edinburgh_CC would be helpful if you could use agreed constituency hashtags

    Unfortunately that link is dead now, but I found this on the same website, and the page explains how this came about:

    I think it’s all very laudable for people to try co-ordinating hashtags, although I think it would have been helpful if we’d been told directly. They may have been agreed with some people, but not us, and we only do the polling/counting/declaring!

    There’s a lot of info out there on the interweb so’s initiative passed us by. (Perhaps they sent us a tweet, but with the best will in the world they can still be easy to miss!)

    To be honest, I’ll be quite busy enough dealing with our own election responsibilities to initiate this myself. But I would welcome or anyone else doing it and we’ll chip in/use.

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