COM0012 – #StaySafe

Recent events in Moncton, New Brunswick brings up an ever increasing issue, staying safe on Social Media. Social Media was extensively used to get the word out to stay indoors and lock doors to stay safe from a gunman on a rampage. A hashtag was even created to help the population zero in on recent news and events pertaining to safety. The communication speed of Social Media was there to help a situation, and utilized by the RCMP.

There is another side to Social Media being used in these situations and that is, hindering a situation. Police also urged the population to refrain from tweeting police activity to try and remain in the upper hand of the situation. It was determined that the gunman was monitoring Social Media. It had to be stated for everyone’s safety to refrain from using Social Media to tweet the operation. Here is an example where Social Media can both help a situation and hinder a situation.

Social Media can be used for fun, for informing, as a marketing tool, and so on but it’s important to learn to use it to #Staysafe as well.

Did you know, when you take a picture on your mobile device it also embeds the photo with a location as to where that photo was taken? That could be a useful tool for people in the business of breaking into homes. At certain times the picture posted is an open invitation to your home. If you don’t instill a security lock down of your Social Media accounts then expect the unexpected.

Mobile users posting pictures can alleviate some safety concerns by removing the location embedded in the photo by using an app called DEGEO. DEGEO removes the location before the photo is posted. Definitely a #staysafe tool.

#Staysafe and research methods on staying safe in this new world of Social Media.

I would like to close by posting a picture of the fallen RCMP of the most recent events in Moncton, New Brunswick. May they Rest in Peace.



Photo Courtesy of Ottawa Citizen

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COM0011 – Blog Post 3 – Getting it done right with #Hashtags

hashtag hashtagGetting it done right with #Hashtags

When thinking about the fundamentals of social media for business: awareness, action, authenticity and trust, the same types of things need to be thought of when it comes to hashtags.

Some simple rules to live by, so that your campaign or brand story can get the most out of #hashtags.

Awareness – Keep in mind, is your hastag to help organize content or to tell a specific story? Remember to use the hashtag to stay on topic and relevant to your brand identity or mission.

Action – Make sure that you provide consumers with the ability to participate in a brands story for a longer time. Making hastags too specific to one event, limits the life of the hashtag and the time your consumer spends with your brand.

Authenticity – Check to make sure your hashtag is unique to your brand. You do not want to lose your brands message amongst all other conversations.

Trust – Test your hashtag ahead of time to make certain the message you want to give and receive through it is the correct one. You want to be a reliable source that has the best interest in the consumer.

How did you measure up? When it comes to your next campaign remember these four tips to help you reach your ultimate potential.


Has the #hashtag gone too far? Well, in some situations I think so. I will start off by mentioning where it seems to work wonders. On Instagram for instance, it is used in overkill listing ingredients of someone’s full supper. In many ways Instagram tends to lend itself freely to the use of #hashtags. Post a simple photo of your meal and list every ingredient seems to be a trend in itself.

On Twitter it works well for following a trend, newsworthy event, or awareness campaign. For example #BringBackOurGirls, received and continues to receive world attention as it should.

The #hashtag is a simple and useful tool bringing attention to causes and items worthy of being searched, thus starting a trend that can be followed.

People even adopted a new way of talking using #hashtags in their speech. Something that Jimmy Fallon jumped on and was part of a skit with Justin Timberlake.

A little too far? Maybe in the skit it took it a little far but the one area I feel the #hashtag has been taken a bit far in Social Media is #hashtaging words like “the”, “and”, “it” and so on. On its own who is going to search the word “the” for latest trends? Certainly not the general public. I think the #hashtag is best served being used sparingly and with a sense of focus.

The #hashtag has been seen as the butt of many jokes and I think it’s healthy to have a sense of humour around the use of #hashtags.



Video courtesy of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon
Picture courtesy of

COM0011 Blog#3 Hashtags: Not Just A Pretty #

Hashtags: Not Just A Pretty #

In August 2007 Chris Messina tweeted the first hashtag:


3 days later the first published use of the term “hash tag” was in a blog post by Stowe Boyd:


Over the last six years it has been honed and developed further into today’s trending world. It works well as a great marketing tool, a routine interaction about a given topic/brand, as well as providing businesses with extensive data analytics.

However, a day doesn’t pass without encountering the misuse of hashtags. It would appear that the common belief is that if you casually throw a pound sign in front of any word a connection is made. I have seen posts with a dozen hashtags built into the sentence which served no purpose and ended up raising spam flags.

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Perhaps it’s the visual simplicity which leads the public to believe there are no guidelines or best-practices and ostensibly their inherent failure to grasp the concept.

Recently, I polled a group about what they know about using a hashtag. Not one could give a valid description or define its use. Even in spite of the fact that half of them actively insert random hashtags in their daily posts with zero intention of ever revisiting the subject. They had all managed to interface with the ones they saw on tv, in print or in a supplier’s post, but they never stopped to contemplate how the data is logged and recovered or its proper utilization. They were all enjoying the #birthdaypartyforBob #drinkingsangrias and #samplingbrie while #celebratingwithfriends.

There are so many dialogues on some hashtags it’s nearly impossible to find a specific post. Take #facebook which according to Google’s keyword planner has 4.6 billion monthly hits. Ironically, the number one hit for #facebook links to Twitter’s website.  #Superbowl was used three million times in five hours. Facebook introduced hashtags in June of this year. It only took a month for a fanpage to emerge called “stop the overuse of hashtags”

The word hashtag has been integrated verbally into everyday speech to such an annoying extent (even worse than hearing someone audibly exclaim the individual letters O.M.G.) that Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake made this parody video

There’s no question that hashtags play a vital role in breaking-news, events, and commercial  Social Media. Perhaps not in personal social networks though, at least not until people are educated. Until then, I propose we use this:  #warningdonotattemptthisathome