Hashtags have been growing recently, and it is becoming a problem. Surprise is imminent if it is believed that sports and similar aspects have nothing to do with conflict in the digital world. Such small, and yet significant issues have affected even a football player. Reporters are feeling the turmoil, as well, as their feed is barraged with unrelated tweets. Even average “Vloggers” are getting bad vibes about hashtags, and are definitely looking for a way out of the mess. Something needs to be done about these high-power organizations, companies, and individuals that take over the “little guys” and blot them out of existence. Even in the world of football, things like this are going awry. Jonathan Martin, an ex-Miami Dolphin for the offensive line, knows this good and well.
In November of 2013, Jonathan Martin the reporter and Jonathan Martin the football player started getting many tweets that were unrelated to their persons (Goldman). People were saying things like, “The Dolphins have given up the 2nd most sacks in the NFL, so it might be worth a try giving @jmartNYT a tryout at Left Tackle” (jmartNYT Nov 11). Goldman speculates, “It’s a case of Twitter mistaken identity, and it’s not the only one.” The reporter quickly realized and addressed the issue casually, just barely mentioning it in a regular post. His fans and followers caught on, too, and were posting many articles and whatnot in response and speculation of the matter. The article by Tom Ley on its own covers most of the posts in relation to the matter. The article includes direct images of tweets that were complete, absurd negative comments about how Jonathan was supposedly losing money by what he was doing. Of course, they were talking about the other Jonathan Martin. This was surely a terrifying confusion as the reporter read such comments on his work… or so he thought they were. What else can a person do, trying to please his costumers and fans, than believe that his followers have turned on him and are rebuking his posts? If the comments on his twitter page had not been so clear and specific, this would have been exactly the case. This just goes to show that more and more people are being confused with others, and it usually is in a negative way. This kind of thing happens all the time, and wasn’t the only thing in its category to be happening at the time. Twitter confusion strikes again with the Arabic Telecom Company.
Chris Rowland is a “web programmer from a small town in New Jersey” (Ortiz). In 2007, he joined twitter with the handle, or username, “@StC” (Ortiz). The event believed to be around two days earlier from the publication of the article; he gained over four thousand followers in just two days, which to a not-so-well-known web programmer is amazing. (Ortiz). Of course, he quickly realized that they were not at all his crowd. Some of the first tweets gave it away with the Arabic script, confusing him thoroughly. After a few days, he found out that an Arabic Telecom service had the same initials as him, and the users often followed his account thinking they were in the right place. Of course, they weren’t. The Arabic service has three twitter accounts, and none of them were named StC. However much Chris tried to convey this, however, not much happened in response. He would say things like, “I am not the telecom company, I’m a guy in New Jersey,” with little success in expressing himself to the public (Ortiz). People would often complain about the service and otherwise related topics, to which Chris replied, “You guys are great, I wish I COULD fix your phone company” (Ortiz). Although Chris had as many followers in a community as he could want, they did not belong to him. This was the main reason that simple things such as hashtags and usernames upset people. If you choose the wrong one, it ends up flowing in people that don’t care about what you have to say, but what somebody else has to say. Even if it wasn’t intentional, this is another example of how the higher power can blot out the “little guy”. Some people may have argued that Chris benefited from the incident… but the truth is that the only thing Chris gained was four thousand foreign followers mislead by his username.
So with all of these unfortunate happenings and misleading’s, has anything been done about it? Yes, and no. Twitter themselves has made a “Trademark Policy” that addresses many of the issues involving usernames and personal names. However, they have NOT addressed issues about hashtags that seem to be becoming a sort of signature for organizations and individuals altogether. The Twitter Help Center (THC) has a section all about it; it clearly states, “Using a company or business name, logo, or other trademark-protected materials in a manner that may mislead or confuse others with regard to its brand or business affiliation may be considered trademark policy violation” (THC). This basically means that things that are already legally trademarked still hold grounds in the twitter world. Say somebody would like to use the name “Doctor Who?” but have no knowledge of the BBC America TV show that already exists… This could be very misleading for other people, and twitter would probably warn them to specify what they are talking about somewhere on their page. Then, somebody else creates a page that is claiming to be the official twitter account for the name brand “Oxy Clean”. If they are just creating such a site and are not the actual owners of such a site, then this is considered fraudulent and would be either removed immediately or the name transferred to the rightful owner of the brand name. Although these services are useful in the twitter world, it still does not address the fact that hashtags are being written by more and more users for the soul use of signatures and references.
So, really, has anything been done about these issues, and what could be done about the hashtag problems? As it’s been in plain sight, nobody has done anything about the hashtag issue. The main thing that could be done with the hashtag is applying the same policy as usernames that twitter has set in place. With exceptions, such as emotions, you should be able to “verify” a hashtag just as you can with usernames. Or, perhaps, there could be multiple hashtags of the same type, but with a bit of a symbol for that designated person or organization. With this policy, people could stop having to worry about the big-shot-companies and organizations taking over their audience, and instead worry about their actual content. People might actually be able to just search one hashtag, such as “#GMM”, and only get exactly what they are looking for.
So will anything be done about hashtags and their issues in the digital world? It is unlikely that anything will be done about hashtags. The twitter website says nothing about the reservation of such elements, and there aren’t a lot of people addressing the matter on the Interwebs. Many people are concerned about the name policy, but nobody seems to think that the ever-growing use in the hashtag is a problem. This is going to end up coming back around, as hashtags are what define both emotion in a post, and who that person is. The digital world needs a better policy when it comes to hashtags, and it isn’t getting better any time soon.
Goldman, Russell. “Football Player’s Mistaken Identity Leads to Twitter Confusion.”ABC News. ABC News Network, 12 Nov. 2013. Web. 19 Nov. 2013. <http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2013/11/football-players-mistaken-identity-leads-to-twitter-confusion/>.
Ley, Tom. “People Keep Tweeting Hate And Support At The Wrong Jonathan Martin.”Deadspin. Tom Ley, 12 Nov. 2013. Web. 19 Nov. 2013. <http://deadspin.com/people-keep-tweeting-hate-and-support-at-the-wrong-jona-1462380461>.
Ortiz, Erik. “Twitter Account Confusion Gives New Jersey Man Thousands of New Followers from Arab World.” NY Daily News. NyDailyNews, n.d. Web. 19 Nov. 2013. <http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/twitter-account-confusion-new-jersey-man-thousands-new-followers-arab-world-article-1.1131408>.
“Trademark Policy.” Twitter Help Center. Twitter Inc., n.d. Web. 19 Nov. 2013. <https://support.twitter.com/articles/18367-trademark-policy>.
https://twitter.com/jmartNYT , 11 November 2013.