I hate hashjacking. As an event orginiser, as a social media lover and certainly as a Twitter user, I hate it. For those not in the know, let me enlighten you. Have you ever seen a link promoting a competition or an offer, that has a really random or multiple random hashtags? Like ”Click here to win a new iPad 3. #iPad #facebook #justinbieber”. It’s very clever technology spamming the crap out of Twitter and using trending topics to get the link into as many streams as possible. And believe it or not, there are idiots that click that stuff.
Now that’s out right spamming, which should be condemned. Recently, I’ve noticed a lot of hashjacking of a different kind in the recruitment market, and it’s not coming from evil faceless hackers hoping to steal your credit card details, it’s closer to home than that. Here’s an example: Someone puts on a social recruiting conference and the HT spikes, as you would imagine. Everyone at the event is tweeting about it, everyone that can’t make the event is tweeting about it, people around the world are tweeting about it, and the HT allows them to talk to each other and see what everyones thoughts are. It’s a wonderful world. Then all of a sudden, some idiot decides to use the HT to sell their own product. ”We are working with some huge clients on SoMo, DM me for more info. #SRCONF” The argument from people that are comfortable exploiting a HT like this is that it’s relevant and people don’t have to click the link. Very true, but A) the event orginiser has worked really hard to build that buzz and you’ve came along and completely took advantage of it to suite your own personal needs and B) you’re clogging a stream of thoughts and opinions full of sales crap and if everyone does that, this stream quickly goes away.
Have I ever used someone else’s HT to promote one of our events? Yes I have but I got their permission first. If you’re going to do guerrilla marketing, which this sort of is, then put the effort in and be creative. Recently, we put a person outside a mobile event, with business cards with nothing else but a QR code on them. The QR code linked to a mobile version of the sign up page to our upcoming event, Social and Mobile Recruiting. It’s the difference between standing outside of an event, handing out cards to those that wanted them, to walking into the event and shouting at people, which is what hashjacking is.
I’m sure everyone has their own views on the subject and I’d be interested to hear them.