Every city or town needs a simple Twitter hashtag (i.e. #MadisonCT, #BaltimoreMD)

A quick thought…

Some cities and towns have active visitor-focused and tourism-related organizations that market their hometown well and respond quickly to requests for information about what’s happening locally. There are also cities and towns that have a hashtag they’ve created and promoted, while some have one that has grown more organically.

Other locations have almost no coordinated Twitter presence at all, which leaves users with an interest in that place to search for various combinations of the city and state name to see what’s being tweeted from/about it. Opportunities to promote a place, its attractions and its businesses are being missed.

But there’s a simple solution for this: We can all agree on a uniform way to catalog city/town related tweets that will make it easy for anyone (residents, visitors, local businesses, government leaders, the media) to find them via a Twitter search.

I suggest we all use #CityStateAbbreviation. For example, my new hometown would be #MadisonCT and my birthplace would be #BaltimoreMD. This hashtag could be added to any tweet related to local news/events that people want easily found.

In some cases the state may seem unnecessary, but it can help avoid confusion. For example, if I just used #Madison, it might take some work for searchers to determine if those tweets are related to the one in Connecticut vs. the one in Wisconsin vs. the one in New Jersey vs. the one from wherever else there might be a Madison.

This may all sound simple, but finding tweets on local events and news often requires multiple searches or following several different hashtags. Hopefully an approach like this would make local tweeting more searchable and encourage even more people to tweet local information more frequently. And this can all be done while still including whatever local hashtags are already being used in tweets but that some people may be unaware of.


With Washington Post paywall, links on Twitter don’t count against the meter

The Washington Post building in Washington, D.C.

The Washington Post building in Washington, D.C. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Washington Post this week announced details on their new paywall, a “metered subscription model,” according to a letter from Post publisher Katharine Weymouth, that will be phased in beginning June 12.

Through this new system, anyone accessing The Post’s website “will initially be able to view 20 pieces of content per month before being asked to subscribe,” writes Weymouth. Digital subscriptions start at $9.99 a month and “home delivery subscribers will continue to have complimentary access to all of The Post’s digital products.”

One detail from Weymouth’s letter that might be of interest to those that access The Post’s website through links on Twitter, Facebook or other websites where its content is shared: “Readers who come to The Post through search engines or shared links will be able to access the linked page regardless of the number of articles they have previously viewed.” A Washington Post PR representative confirmed via Twitter that this includes a link sent in a tweet.

I’ll be interested to see how long it takes me to hit the paywall, as the majority of my Post reading now comes through links from the paper’s official accounts, reporters and columnists that I follow on Twitter.

The tweet that Deadspin left out

Deadspin posted a story Thursday stating, “ESPN has suspended [Bill] Simmons from Twitter for a few days after he called the Skip Bayless-Richard Sherman First Take meltdown last week awful and embarrassing.” In the piece, Deadspin’s John Koblin points out two tweets Simmons sent:


My first thought after reading the Deadspin post and the tweets was that ESPN may have overreacted:

But then I looked through Simmons’ Twitter timeline and saw this tweet he sent immediately before the two linked to in that Deadspin post:

That changed my perspective a bit:

I don’t know exactly which tweet got Simmons suspended. Perhaps it was all of them put together or maybe it was just the two cited in the Deadspin post, which didn’t seem all that bad to me; they were just Simmons’ honest thoughts on the “First Take” Sherman-Bayless segment, which then got retweeted and created even more buzz about it.

But, it would seem to me that the earlier tweet—where Simmons suggested people change the station away from ESPN—is the type that could bother an employer. I imagine that if I essentially tweeted for customers to go find a different product for a while, some of my former bosses might have wanted a word with me. Would it be worthy of a suspension? Maybe. It certainly strikes me as more damaging than the two tweets Simmons sent with his thoughts on the interview.

What I don’t understand is why that tweet wouldn’t be one of the focal points for Deadspin in their article on the suspension. I looked back and found Koblin linked to it in an earlier post on Simmons’ critical tweets, where he says Simmons “started off lightly.” And Koblin does link to that older post in his one about the suspension. But unless a source at ESPN told Deadspin it was the two tweets on the segment specifically that got him suspended, I’d be looking at the one he sent right before those, where he told people to turn off the network he works for.

ESPN should want debate and chatter about their products, even if it means letting their employees be critical of them sometimes. But what they probably shouldn’t want is a guy who works for them telling his 2 million Twitter followers, “don’t watch it.”

Sidenote: Nearly every single bit of this saga seems great for ESPN and their ratings: the segment, the Simmons tweets and the suspension. They might want to look into a pro wrestling approach where they just script all this stuff.

Connect with me on Twitter at @mikeholden

WordPress tells me that January 10 was my best day ever for follows of my blog. That was the same day I posted about my recent move to Madison, CT and the PR and marketing work I’m now trying to drum up near my new hometown or remotely.

With new followers on board, I thought now might be a good time to mention my Twitter account. If you’re on Twitter, let’s connect there as well. You can find me at @mikeholden. If you do start following me there after reading this, please send me a tweet and let me know that’s how you found me.

Catholic University vs. Washington Wizards

Who will draw a bigger crowd at home tonight in DC, the NBA’s Washington Wizards as they host the Portland Trailblazers or Catholic University as they host Frostburg State? That was the topic discussed earlier on Twitter between 106.7 The Fan’s Sky Kerstein and Holden Kushner, who then provided the photo evidence:


#hiremikeholden on washingtonpost.com

The #hiremikeholden hashtag made it onto washingtonpost.com, thanks to my fantastic wife! The Post wished good luck on Twitter too, after I tweeted the image below.  Thanks to them and everyone else who has been spreading the word about my job search and solo PR and marketing work. I appreciate it!

#hiremikeholden washingtonpost.com

You disappoint me, Twitter and Alec Sulkin (@thesulk)

The offensive tweet

I absolutely hate when people use “retarded” or “retard” as a derogatory term. And Twitter has a tweet highlighted on their search page right now that does just that. It’s unacceptable. The use of the word as an insult completely disgusts me. And this has nothing to do with the politics of the tweet.

The tweet was sent by Alec Sulkin, a television writer, who’s contributed to shows like Family Guy. As I was searching Google to figure out who he is, I learned that insensitive tweets aren’t new for this guy. When the recent earthquake took place in Japan, he tweeted: “If you wanna feel better about this earthquake in Japan, google ‘Pearl Harbor death toll.” He apologized for his earthquake-related tweet the next day.

I think it’s time for him to apologize again for the insensitive tweet he sent tonight, using the word “retarded.” It’s offensive and hurtful to people with intellectual disabilities, and it needs to be removed from our vocabulary. Take a look at R-word.org for more on why if it’s not obvious.

And whoever curates those tweets that get highlighted on the Twitter app’s search page, what were you thinking? Or if it’s somehow automated, remove that one quickly. And if it is automated, what are you doing still letting Alec Sulkin’s tweets show up there unfiltered after his Japan tweet?