Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Stuff of the Modern Wedding: Hashtagging

Remember how back in the day the really cool wedding receptions would have disposable cameras on the table? Then you could have about 25 snaps of random awesomeness with people at your table before it was used up? Then someone would most likely grab it and start hitting it against the table, making the flash go off repeatedly, like a mini-strobe.

Maybe somewhere that still happens. Most weddings, though, have "gone modern." Forget the cardboard-wrapped disposables, this is the age of the smartphone, and boy is it great for weddings! The bride and groom can get a guest play-by-play with apps like Instagram and Twitter, and the really tech-savy ones create their own hashtag!

For those less tech-savy readers, a hashtag is a simple term for a link that is created by using the # symbol and some text. When used on Twitter and Instagram, it turns into a link, connecting anything containing said hashtag. The only thing you need to know when making a hashtag is that symbols and the space key are bad. They will break any link where inserted, so you'll end up with half a hash and a link to who knows what.

Nick and I are definitely a tech-happy couple, so we've already created our hashtag with the hope and plan that it will help us gather little moments from our wedding into one place. Our hashtag is #NickElise713, and while it hasn't gotten much use yet, we already have a place to gather all related Tweets and images.

So far we've added mostly past photos and tweets, but once it gets closer to the wedding, we're hoping to get lots of use out of our hashtag.

And this is where you come in. We are asking our friends and relatives who use social media to help us document the occasion. Even if you aren't on Twitter or Instagram, we invite you to snap candids, post on Facebook or text/email us pictures and stories. We want to remember even the tiniest details and we can't do it alone! :)

For those who are also going to employ the hashtag at their weddings, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

1. Make your hashtag unique. Weddings happen a lot. Like more than one on the same day. And sometimes different weddings on the same day have things in common, like initials and names. So when you're creating your hashtag, try to make it different and unique. Last weekend I saw three different weddings all using the same hashtag on the same day. Talk about a lot to sort through when you're going back to find pictures and tweets from your day. Do yourself a favor and make it something other people most likely won't have.

2. Get it before it's gone. Twitter stores lists of hashtags for only so long and gets rid of old hashtags rather quickly. To avoid totally losing your hashtags (or having to go back later and hunt through your friends' feeds), save them as soon as you can. Storify is a great tool for collecting all sorts of media, including tweets and Instagrammed photos. You create a "story," pull in elements (photos, tweets, videos, etc.), save and publish (see above slideshow for a publishing option). Also, you can even search by hashtag when you're adding to your story. Another option is to retweet friends' tweets so you can easily find them in your feed, or favorite them.

3. Don't forget to tell your friends. Creating a hashtag is great, but someone has to use it! Make sure to post the tag somewhere at your wedding and at your reception so friends and family know to use it. You may want to include it on your program, on table cards, or on a cute chalkboard sign. Whatever works for your style and theme, look for a way to incorporate it.

4. Get some life out of it. The main goal is to use your hashtag day-of, but there's no rule that says you can't use it before and after! Start using it early to document the planning process, parties and moments you want to remember. You can invite your friends to start using it ahead of time too. Use your hashtag after the wedding to document your life as newlyweds (think honeymoon, any "firsts," etc.). It's your tag, use it how you want.


Sandy said...

Hi Elise, wish I had thought of this for my wedding last year! What do you think of showing a live slideshow of those instagram / tweets on the day of the wedding instead of the same-day photo edit?

eliseloyola said...

Hi Sandy! I love slideshows (currently working on one for my wedding!), and the concept of a live feed/slideshow sounds awesome. Not sure how many people would be actually viewing it live, unless it was displayed at the wedding. But you would have to be careful when selecting your hashtag (if that's what the live slideshow was pulling) to ensure that it wasn't pulling posts of someone else's wedding. Love the idea!

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