Maybe you’re spontaneous. Hey, that’s often a good thing. But you can burn yourself by being too spontaneous on social media. Let’s look at hashtag usage as an example.
In a nutshell – Be careful about being too spontaneous with hashtags.
Let’s break down the hashtag #paytoplay to explore what it means to different people. Lots of industries have their own whirlwinds when it comes to the concept of “pay-to-play”. The issues and industries vary, but one thing’s a constant – it’s always a whirlwind.
For example, in the public relations world, people in that industry can talk for days about how pay-to-play has no place in PR. But if you speak with a publisher, he or she will tell you pay-to-play refers to native ads, etc. In politics and lobbying, pay-to-play is the bane of that world, and always referred to in a highly negative context.
If you fail to remember that pay-to-play ruffles feathers and gets folks hot under the collar, you could easily think using the hashtag #paytoplay (click to see) is a good idea if you’re trying to get a point across, or tie it to a concept. Well, I picked a great example, because #paytoplay is quite a cesspool, and it’s not a grouping where you would want to be seen. It’s got lots of suspicion-inducing political tweets, escort tweets, etc. Overall, it’s just icky and negative – Think of it as a “bad neighborhood,” but a neighborhood on social media. Just like in real life, you avoid some neighborhoods; the same goes for social media.
Just so you know, I was tempted to use #paytoplay in a tweet about something related to PR. Glad I didn’t. And when I see a hashtag in a tweet, I immediately think the person tweeting is doing me a favor by giving me access to other tweets & tweeps discussing the issue. So, naturally, I click the hashtag because I like to be in the know. But if a hashtag lands me in a bad digital neighborhood, it irks me because it makes me conclude that the person tweeting was too spontaneous and did zero research. The advice here is – Don’t do that to your followers. Yes, be spontaneous, but take a few seconds to look at a hashtag’s “digital neighborhood” before using it. And do you really want your tweet seen in a bad neighborhood? One misstep and you’ll send your followers somewhere they don’t necessarily want to be.