For those who don’t enjoy social media – and there’s no reason you have to – hashtags serve to thread information online for the purpose of easier searching. It works in Twitter and Google +, not Facebook.
Earlier this year you could search Twitter for #Brecksville and find information from a variety of sources about the alleged plot to blow up a bridge.
Hashtags also serve as punctuations to thought, as in, “Jimmy Dimora was found guilty. #nosurprise”
They are also a call to action, if you could imagine drivers asking for city street crews to “#saveourstreets.” More city agencies are on Twitter all the time, so it’s not outside the realm of possibility.
So here is what I would like to pitch to our reading public. We are listening. Let’s bring about an #infomob.
Think flash mob, only without violence.
Think “cash mob,” only instead of descending on a business in need of monetary support, we crash with an #infomob on an issue that needs attention to the understanding of its details.
The use of “#” gives “infomob” a different kind of searchable presence online, punctuates the notion of what we’d be doing and in the same breath offers up the call to action.
When I think of all the changes that may come to the Rocky River Municipal Court system by virtue of North Olmsted Mayor Kevin Kennedy’s declaration of a mayor’s court, I think of the need for an #infomob.
When Cuyahoga County changed governance two years ago, we dedicated an entire edition to explaining the players and possible impacts.
Beyond our print interface with the public, there are our Web connections as well. Look online for our use of #infomob to signal a topic we’re paying attention to. If you are part of our online communities you are immediately free to participate in those #infomobs by suggesting topics or joining the conversation. The tools at our disposal change from week to week outside of the newspaper itself.
Thanks to the #SCOTUS (the Supreme Court of the United States) ruling on universal health care last week, I have a prime example of what I am not looking for. No sooner had the Supreme Court issued its ruling than CNN went online with an incorrect headline about the court’s position on the individual mandate. Twitter went nuts with people trying to offer interpretations of the ruling. It was an insane thing to watch, after the fashion of bees performing dances in a hive, so let me be clear: That is the opposite of what I hope these #infomobs would achieve. (Should we call them #infogatherings instead? A cash mob is a good thing. I want to believe an info mob can be as well.)
In the end, there is a vast amount of information we all can bring to bear on issues facing the Westshore. We assert that more, even, than a village, it may occasionally take a mob to get our act together.