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Who owns the #sibos hashtag?

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:

@LongNow meeting and host just said the creation of the Euro is an example of Long Finance #sibos

Mark Field MP: "stability is the enemy of innovation" – creative destruction is good #sibos

Mark Field MP: "we must not over-regulate so banking becomes a commodity, nor under-regulate so countries could arbitrage rules" – #sibos

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:

How to really suck, period-Try hash tagging your Tweets with an upcoming event hashtag even when the Tweet is completely irrelevant!

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:

@LizLum are you referring to anything in particular?

to which she replied:

@FSClub Hmmmm? Why would you think I was referring to anything at all?

so, I innocently replied (I thought):

@LizLum just checking you hadn't missed the fact that the Long Now is core to this year's #sibos http://bit.ly/b1Cbav

to find Liz respond:

Hmmm, I think there's a hashtag for that…oh ya #lameanddesperate

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:

@LizLum oh … didn't realize you owned, regulated and managed the#sibos hashtag … thought it was Swift's, not @finextra

To which she replies:

The Brits have a saying for something,it involves 'Toys' & 'prams' I think. 2 protest so very much,why is that then? #gettingbacktomylifenow

and:

To bastardise Carly Simon 'You're so vain, I bet you think this Tweet is about you'

Nothing like being a professional now, is there?

About Chris M Skinner

Chris M Skinner
Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog, the Finanser.com, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal’s Financial News. To learn more click here...

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