The Hashtag Question

When ‘Direct Democracy‘ first appeared in 2002, proposing what was eventually to become Police and Crime Commissioners there was no such thing as Twitter, but even without a 140-character limit the group managed to settle on a title for the job that was a little more compact – Sheriff. It probably sounds too American, which as Dan Hannan and Douglas Carswell never tire of pointing out, is a little ironic, seeing that us Brits had Sheriffs long before the Americans did.

So, when the Conservatives settled on a title for a proposal which itself was being accused of being excessively American, they ditched the Sheriff title for something descriptive, technical, and letterhead-defyingly long. Not only is “Police and Crime Commissioner” a bit of a mouthful, but it is also not twitter friendly. As the conversation develops on Twitter, which hashtag should people use? Settling on a common hashtag is what keeps the conversation together.

#PoliceAndCrimeCommissioner is 27 characters – about 20% of any tweet is gone before you’ve got started.

#PCC is 4 characters- but refers to so many more things than the Commissioner – Press Complaints Commission, Preston City Council, Pensacola Christian College and a thousand more – no good.

#PoliceCommissioner brings you right back to America, and that’s a different conversation.

So we humbly offer #TopOfTheCops

Yes, it is a little biased toward this site, but if that stops the election from being fragmented across as many local and national news sources that we have in this country, that may be no bad thing.

#TopOfTheCops is quicker to type, means nothing else, and summarises in a quick phrase the idea of what the election is about. Yes, it misses the subtlety of the very-much-developing crime element of the post, but there’s only so much you can pack into 13 characters.

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4 Responses to The Hashtag Question

  1. Paul West says:

    Well it might have been better if I hadn’t just discovered (as a relative Twitter novice) that the hashtag doesn’t seem to accept ‘&’ as part of it, so I guess it will have to be #policeandcc – a happy compromise as it’s two letters more than Steve’s but one letter less than Sam’s (and more clearly associated with the subject matter).

  2. Paul, #policeandcc seems to be a good compromise – I guess the best way to see if it works is to add it to PCC related posts and see whether it takes offf?

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