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Your hashtag may not be what it seems, Mayor Debbie

Saturday, April 05, 2014   by: Kenneth Armstrong

Twitter users who search the social networking service hoping to stay informed about Sault Ste. Marie could be using the wrong hashtag.

Some prominent Sault Ste. Marie personalities - including our own mayor and Team Brad Jacobs - have been using the #SSM hashtag when engaging readers on social media, though a quick search shows that tag shows it is more likely to be associated with discussions about same-sex marriage.

Social media strategist Nathan Smith says choosing hashtags while using social media can help people find and possibly share your posts, but using the wrong hashtag can often have the opposite effect.

Smith says the most popular hashtag currently being used for Sault Ste. Marie is #Sault, which is used by local businesses, news organizations and citizens when using social media such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

“When a user includes #Sault in their post, it creates a hyperlink, said Smith. “If you click on the #Sault, you will be shown a list of tweets or public Facebook posts that contain the same hashtag.”

Smith says hashtags aren’t as confusing as most people make them out to be, and are most often used to categorize a conversation by topic.

Other less-popular popular hashtags for Sault Ste. Marie include #Soo and #SaultSteMarie.

One of the dangers of using hashtags is that they may be used for causes or events that are bigger or more popular than the one you are trying to promote, making your tweets harder for some to find.

For instance, instead of using the #Sault hashtag, Mayor Debbie Amaroso’s official @SaultMayor Twitter account favours #SSM, which is much more commonly used to promote or debate same-sex marriage. The same goes for the @TeamBradJacobs account of the Olympic gold medal winners.

(PHOTO: Screenshot of recent Twitter posts using the #SSM hashtag, two posts discussing same-sex marriage, while Mayor Debbie Amaroso's post discusses street parking in Sault Ste. Marie.)

Viewing the latest 35 posts on Twitter under the #SSM hashtag, only one Tweet was referring to the city of Sault Ste. Marie, while the other 34 were almost exclusively in reference to same-sex marriage.

“Im not surprised. There are acronyms and short forms for everything,” said Stephanie Pagnucco, community event coordinator for the city of Sault Ste. Marie.

While the mayor’s intention may be to promote the city, her tweets are being lost to users searching for information about Sault Ste. Marie.

While Pagnucco said there is nothing wrong with sharing the #SSM hashtag with discussions about same-sex marriage, she acknowledged using another hashtag may result in better searchability for users seeking information about the city.

Pagnucco said she will reach out to corporate affairs, which manages the @citySSM account, to come up with a unified standard for which hashtag should be used in the future.

Although Pagnucco noted that Amaroso initially experienced a learning curve when taking to social media, it has now become a part of the mayor’s daily routine and she encourages Saulites to continue reaching out to the mayor by Twitter and Facebook.

Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
Pakadeva 4/5/2014 12:44:03 PM Report

Really, I didn't know what a "hashtag" was or what it represented till right now & if you read her post, there is nothing concerning same-sex, etc. in a remark about parking cars. We haven't all been taking computer courses for the past 20 years. This is an example of someone with nothing else to do but to look for something to criticize. Why not look for something "good" to say about our mayor?
Entity 4/5/2014 1:47:16 PM Report

I think people should generally stay away from twitter; culture is dumbing us down enough without limiting our thoughts to 140 characters.
Sam C 4/5/2014 2:00:52 PM Report

Entity... did you realize your comment comes in just under 140 characters?

Pakadeva... the point is not what Mayor Debbie said, it is the use of the hashtag #SSM. On Twitter you can search for all comments with a particular hashtag. So if you are search for posts about the Sault but using the #SSM hashtag, you will find many, many posts about same-sex marriage, and only a few about the Sault.
whooligun 4/5/2014 2:07:07 PM Report

Ohwow 4/5/2014 2:28:39 PM Report

Anybody else think it's funny that Sam actually counted the number of characters Entity used just to put him/her down? :)
ThinkAgain 4/5/2014 2:36:59 PM Report

People will do anything to make a buck, $$$$$$$$$.
I've never used a hashtag nor care too.
charger 4/5/2014 5:56:24 PM Report

Entity 4/5/2014 8:05:09 PM Report

Sam C: No I did not realize it, but not all points need be verbose; sometimes 140 characters is plenty.

OhWow: Sam's just pointing out a smidge of irony, and I say "smidge" because I wasn't actually presenting a false dichotomy; I don't feel 'put down'.

It was an astute observation on Sam's part, and I'm flattered he/she invested the time and energy to count the characters of my post.
NateS 4/5/2014 10:57:42 PM Report

I find it amusing that people attempt to find controversy where none exists. This piece articulates why it is important to understand how social media works, before jumping in. While there is no harm in using #ssm, if you're not posting about the associated topic, it is useless to those who follow it. Invest two minutes into researching your proposed hashtag. When used properly, they can help you to reach your target audience with relevant posts.
rider_ 4/6/2014 1:46:06 AM Report

disgusting, why does the mayor post that filth
rihkee 4/6/2014 5:48:36 PM Report

Is this a gag article?

If it isn't the author doesn't understand how twitter works.
I'm In 4/6/2014 10:20:26 PM Report

All I can say this Mayor is a waste of municipal tax payers money we all know the Joe Fratesi runs this city so we don't need to pay some $91K's or more a year to be a cheerleader or P/R person cuase that's all she does
Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
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