For those who Facebook, Twitter and Flickr, having an out-and-out public spat online is not a good idea.
OK, the odd outburst from a cricketer or swimmer may be a faux pas, but a professional social media advocate?
Surely we should avoid such bickering.
Well, not me.
I guess it’s my nature, but when Liz Lumley, multimedia and special projects editor at Finextra, decided to pick up on my tweets about the Long Now conference today, I wondered what was going on.
Here’s what I was tweeting:
In each case, I used the #sibos hashtag to indicate that these comments are relevant to SIBOS. This is because, as mentioned previously, I’m leading the Long Now debate at SIBOS and the show has three big themes: regulation, rebuilding trust and recovery.
I then spot a tweet from Liz saying:
I wondered what was going on, as it was obvious this was prompted by my notes.
Liz has made a few other barbed tweet comments in recent times, so I decided to tackle this one head-on and sent her a public message:
to which she replied:
so, I innocently replied (I thought):
to find Liz respond:
This was a bit of surprise, particularly as I’m working closely with colleagues at SWIFT on this debate.
The ensuing twitter spat was rather public.
It’s totally erroneous and irrelevant for anyone not involved or interested, so why am I posting this here?
Because the whole spat throws open a big question: who owns the public debate and, more importantly, the twitter hashtag?
Can Liz and her cohorts really claim ownership of the #sibos hashtag?
I don’t think so and if anyone owns this tag, surely it’s SWIFT?
Why is this worth a discussion?
Well, for those involved in social domains, a hashtag is a referencing system to place all tweets in an easy-to-find bucket. It's important because it's created to ensure you can find all relevant information on Twitter about a particular subject easily.
Hashtag #davidcameron or #bankers or #barnier … it's totally arbitrary and just meant to make finding stuff easier for those who use it.
Most importantly, it is not owned by anyone.
This is exemplified by the fact that, two minutes later, I invented and could now claim to own the hashtag #sibos2010.
This just proves a hashtag is not owned by anyone and Liz and her colleagues are just being a wee bit precious surely?
So I reply:
To which she replies:
Nothing like being a professional now, is there?