Now, many people will know this, and many more won't (and nor will they care), but Twitter uses a thing called a Hashtag. This is when someone puts a # before a word or phrase to help people track down trends or read about certain topics. For example the biggest hashtag in 2011 was #egypt, which successfully spurred a revolution in the country and an excellent example of social media changing the World. Number two, however, was #tigerblood, referring to Charlie Sheen's public breakdown and reaffirms my expectations of the human race.
I've only recently set up my own personal Twitter account (having previously used expedition ones) and this morning I started trying to track down overlanders to follow on Twitter. I looked for those on expeditions, those in the industry or basically anyone who might post on the topic so I could fill my feed with interesting content instead of updates on Justin Beiber's love life. It became clear that there are some established hashtags for travel e.g.
#rtw (Round the World)
#rtwnow (Round the world... but right now!)
#ttot (travel tips on Twitter)
...but none for overlanding. Some people use #overlanding or #overland or #expedition and this is great, but none of them have been generally accepted. I got in touch with Matt and the boys at Expedition Portal and discovered that they didn't know of any unifying hashtags either. We decided to propose an overlanding hashtag that could unite all overlanders on Twitter.
The proposal is: #overland
If we popularize this hashtag we can:
· Share updates
· Promote expeditions
· Share blogs, videos and articles
· Discuss equipment
· Ask questions
· Share advice
· Find fellow overlanders on Twitter
· Or maybe just boast about your new winch!
So, say you have a question you need answering quickly or you've found the coolest expedition or blog or maybe you just want to discuss your weekend's 4x4 adventure, finish your tweet with #overland and we can all get involved. In fact, anytime you tweet about anything remotely related to overlanding, finish it with #overland. If you disagree strongly with this choice of 'tag, then please outline a better one below... otherwise let's get Tweeting!
Make sure you're following Expedition Portal's account @expoportal [https://twitter.com/#!/expoportal ] - and if you want to follow me, I'm @Paul_K_Archer [https://twitter.com/#!/Paul_K_Archer] ; I go on ludicrous expeditions and I promise never to use the 'tag #tigerblood.
If you Tweet this article (go to the bottom of this page, under the Facebook stuff, and click on the little Twitter bird), tag anyone who you think may find it useful then write '#overland'.
Alternatively you could just tell people with a Tweet. If we tell as many people as possible we could create a Twitter based overland forum that could be really interesting and useful, or maybe even introduce new people to this petrol-powered world!
But don't worry if you don't want to, this is just a proposal. You may find @justinbieber more interesting, he's 84,000 followers away from 24 millions fans.
...And you'll be helping to make #24MillionBeliebers very happy.