Corporate hashtags – is big brother watching?

I was reading this article about whether hashtags  are useful and I knew you would find it interesting because we have talked about hashtags before – notably here.

And it put me in mind of a phenomenon I have come across recently –  the Big Brother hashtag. This is a corporate hashtag that allow enormous organisations to keep in touch – not as you might imagine, with what is being said by others about their brand – but with insiders, who work for or with them.

The very large company I am thinking of goes in for social media in a big way. All praise to the way they have embraced it and everything it can do to spread the message worldwide. Checking out their name on either Twitter or Facebook brings up not just one account, but literally dozens for each branch of the organisations work and each country where it operates. As someone who usually works in small business this is BIG.

So far so good. But the thing which worries me, is the suggestion that all arms of this spider, including the smaller partners, should tag their tweets with an array of tags which allows them to be tracked by the powers unseen. In some instances I have seen tweets laden down with hashtags including the company name, the product name and the name of a forum or conference they are attending. The result is something very unattractive, unreadable and un-re-tweetable!

My conclusion, as the rebel in the corner, is that social media has to be useful and when big corporations get involved sometimes clarity and simplicity go out of the window.

I would advocate getting that clarity and simplicity back. So let’s use the corporate hashtag in moderation and where appropriate. Big brother really does not need to see small partner companies shooting the breeze with new clients, although perhaps if they did, they would learn a few things about social media? 



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