If you’re from St. Louis or the Midwest, and you monitor the trends on Twitter, last week you may have seen a hashtag trending, “#PBandJterm”, and wondered what it was all about, or you saw me tagging tweets with it. Well, it’s all because of one special topics class at Lindenwood University; “Creating and Managing Your Online Personal Brand”, taught by Communications professor Jill Falk.
After a few days of deliberation at the beginning of the week, we decided (much to my chagrin, actually) on the tag #PBandJterm. It represents “Personal Branding”, the topic of our class, and January Term, the pre-semester “semester” of classes here at Lindenwood, with a cute poke at the “PB&J” moniker. If you notice my Twitter feed, I reluctantly began to use the tag around Wednesday (Jan 4th) of last week. We had presentations in class on Thursday about ourselves, which generated a lot of chatter about one another, but not a lot of chatter much further out of our own (albeit small) community of students.
On Friday (Jan. 6th) we had presentations in class about a brand personality of our choice, with some key facts about what we should know about them. Mine was about the personality Chris Reimer. (@RizzoTees) He had a lot of insight to offer in terms of personal branding, social media implementation, etc. As of that day #PBandJterm really took off. As a result of all the presentations in class, our personal branding personalities began to interact with us on Twitter. These included Reimer, as well as others like David Armano, (@Armano) Tara Joyce, (@ElasticMind) Nick Gilham, (@NickGilham) and others.
Once this began to happen, it was only a matter of time before someone considered the possibility of us trending; which we checked, to find out that our conversation had become number one in St. Louis. Where that left us in the global list, or United States trends is anyone’s guess. However, it’s still pretty cool that a group of twenty-somethings that attend school in the Midwest can talk about their class, and personal branding, and land their conversation as a number one trend in a giant metropolitan area.
The key here, is that the hashtag went beyond just a few friends in class discussing something. This is also key to understanding how hashtags work. Tags such as “#talkaboutawkward” or “#ifitwasuptome” indicate a mediocre knowledge and understanding of how Twitter works. The hashtag was designed to track a given topic of conversation. Not all momentary hashtags are bad. For example, a friend and I used to always tag conversations about food with “#FoodTweet” or “#Hungry.” Hence, for curiosity’s sake, we could then easily search Twitter for other people talking about food.
I encourage you to interact with #PBandJterm over the next few weeks to see the things we learn about personal branding, and track the content we publish.