I had to wait until today, with the final announcement of the top ten Lib Dems, when it was finally clear I had fallen short of Iain Dale’s top-50 influential Lib Dems – despite having variously worked with or for several of those who are in the list.
And yet my reach and my influence is significant. Last Friday, I coined a phrase “hashtag taxonomy” that was resoundly mocked in all sorts of places throughout conference until finally culminating in a name check on Radio 5Live when my new friend and celebrity talking head Helen Duffett managed to crowbar it into a interview on the leader’s speech. And not only did Helen say it, someone actually heard it and twittered about it.
And now I hear the concept will be written up into a paper for an American political science journal by my colleague Dr Mark Pack, so I set to work to think of further poncey phrases that might work in an academic concept, finally coming up with the phrase “cross-media, cross-platform hegemony.” I have thought a little further on that and think now I may have confused my hegemonies with my synergies, so what we really need is cross-media, cross-platform synergy. I have been clear throughout, however, that it is most useful to refer to taxonomy in the singular. Taxonomies threatens getting singularly postmodern.
But I fear all our hashtags and taxonomies and synergies are obscuring how useful this thing that Dr Pack stumbled on last week could actually be. Basically, @partyConference (and I don’t know who they are) suggested a standard style of tag, starting with the # character, for all the party conferences. If you tag a text message with the hashtag, or tweme, ‘#libdem08’ it will automatically appear this page on the website twemes.com
To the best of my knowledge, no-one did anything to create that page – unless it was put there by @partyconference themselves. Or did the website just notice that lots of people were suddenly saying #libdem08 and bring a lot of them together in one place? (Interestingly, at the moment, there doesn’t appear to be a #lab08 page – if you try twemes.com/lab08 all you see is a message tagged #boring…)
But hold on a second minute. It’s not just the twitter messages that can be made to appear on that wee page. Items posted to del.icio.us do as well, as do photos on flickr. This is when we get to the cross-media, cross-platform excitement. Suddenly it’s all very interesting indeed.
You can really see the application of this when a large volume of tech savvy people all go to the same place at the same time. And Lib Dem conference was that place. All I need to do now is convince a few more people apart from me and Will Howells to upload photos, and we will be literally unstoppable.
I can’t wait to see whether the Tories or Labour make owt out of hashtags at their own efforts.