Joi Murugavell founder of Joi Design, is a designer by trade. She's passionate about 'cutting the crap' and helping her clients make money from good, solid Brands.
Simon Young is a cofounder of iJump, a social media consultancy that helps organisations conduct real, human conversations with their communities through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other forms of social media.
James Mawhinney is the Business Development Manager at PositionMEonline, providing high quality internet marketing strategies to a range of clients including Merrill Lynch, Downer EDI, Hawaiian Group, Citect PLC, and Quest Serviced Apartments.
I recently attended a fabulous event, most of the attendees are still buzzing about the event on twitter. We follow the events hashtag (?) for live updates on speaker slides, videos and a host of incredible blogs, articles and links that have been inspired by the event. Unfortunately within every hashtag there are opportunists - hashtag leaches. When a hashtag is active and trending, some folks try to get in on the action hoping they will win more followers. Twitter is a bit of a popularity contest and you can't blame us for competing for more followers, its just the schoolyard nature of twitter and we tend to forgive this in each other but not commercial entities (yet).
Of late I've noticed a minor sponsor of the event I attended riding on the popularity of the conference hashtag to advertise their product. Their tweets are mainly about their product and at best vaguely relating anything they can grab to the conference. As we're using the hashtag to learn, most of us will be ignoring said spammer (on twitter by week two you learn how to speed read and only pick up on tweets that resonate with you).
Unfortunately, no one owns a hashtag and by that token anyone can spam a hashtag. If your aim is to get some sort of free advertising via a hashtag, you'll have to put in the hard work, mingle amongst the community, learn why they're spending time in the hashtag and THEN gently push your message across in the same 'flavour' and theme of the hashtag - there are no shortcuts here and that's why twitter is so powerful, it takes time to be genuine which naturally weeds out get attention quick scams.
A good blog by Simon Mainwaring - Will Advertising be the death of social media? (re twitter's new ad platform). Simon is ex agency by the way (just to put things in context) some great comments on that post too.
...and so begins another chapter in finding new ways to ignore advertising.