I accomplished something today that I will likely never accomplish again. I created a hashtag that was trending in the United States.
Last night a friend and fellow conference speaker Sarah Withee tweeted out that people assumed she was speaking at KCDC but she wasn’t. I was surprised, because she’s had some great talks. We started DMing and I found out for various personal reasons that she didn’t submit this year. During the conversation, she said that one thing she’d like to see more of is experienced speakers talking about the challenges they face.
I thought about it for a second and tweeted out:
— Nate Taylor (@taylonr) July 26, 2017
I tagged it #SpeakerConfessions and included Sarah and a coworker (Art) who I knew would also have confessions.
Over the next couple hours I tagged some other speaker friends asking for their confessions. I saw mostly Sarah, Art, Jeremy Clark, Reid Evans and a few other people tweeting.
Then, I started to see some tweets from people that I didn’t know. At first one or two, then there’d be 5 or 10, occasionally there were people who tweeted several things under that hash tag. It was really starting to gain momentum.
I went to a meeting for about an hour and when I came back, I saw there were probably 50 new tweets and I had 100+ likes and retweets of various tweets I’d made.
Then I noticed it. There were a few tweets that seemed strangely out of place. For example,
McConnell: I am not a turtle #SpeakerConfessions
— avantgod (@solkattu) July 26, 2017
It dawned on me this person saw the hashtag but not the context, so they assumed it was about former Speakers of the House. At about that same time, Art and I were talking during slack and both posted a screenshot within a few seconds of each other.
This little hashtag that Sarah and I created became a trending hashtag in the US.
We’re splitting credit. Sarah says she had the suggestion and I created the hashtag, and that’s true. What’s probably more accurate, though, is that Sarah has a very wide network, and those people had networks and those people had networks. I saw some people I really respect tweeting with the hashtag.
It was a combination of a topic that resonated with people combined with people who had a following talking about things that mattered.
IF I had tried to start a trending hashtag, I would not have been able to.
Oh, and it’s been a bit exhausting, up until 5:20pm CDT I had read every single tweet. That’s when I left work and I’m not sure if I missed a few when I launched Twitter once I got home.
So if you participated in #SpeakerConfessions, thank you.