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Can you own a hashtag?

December 3, 2014

Recently, I was questioned on Twitter whether someone could own a hashtag. Can you own a hashtag? No.

This led to my thinking about hashtags and hashtag communities. There’s an important distinction here. One is a tool. The other is a group of people who share a strong common interest, form relationships and interact online around a hashtag, such as #hcsmca.

The hashtag #hcsmca is an aggregator, a central hub of social health information. #hcsmca connects people, facilitates communications, and helps people find innovative and collaborative solutions to improve health and health care.

The #hcsmca community is an inclusive network for all Canadians passionate about health and health care. #hcsmca is a cross-disciplinary community with core values of respect, diversity and openness. Although #hcsmca’s geographical focus is Canada, the community has global reach.

The #hcsmca community researches, discusses, problem solves health and health care challenges and opportunities. With the diverse knowledge pool of its members, the community leverages social media, most notably on Twitter, and other digital collaborative tools in an open forum to share perspectives, best practices, new ideas and solutions. We also meet as in person at #hcsmca hosted meetups, Evening Rounds, and conferences across the country.

Do you recognize some of the phrases in this post? They are directly from the #hcsmca Vision and Mission that the #hcsmca community created together this fall (2014). Thanks to our having worked together to crowdsource our collective vision and mission, I was able to respond to the query about hashtag ownership with clarity.

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