'hashtag: A Global Interdisciplinary Conference. Call for Participation

Friday, January 15, 2016 - 7:30am to Sunday, January 17, 2016 - 12:30pm

#hashtag: A Global Conference
Call for Participation 2016

Friday 15th January – Sunday 17th January 2016
London, United Kingdom

hashtag n. (on social media web sites and applications) a word or phrase preceded by a hash and used to identify messages relating to a specific topic; (also) the hash symbol itself, when used in this way. Hashtags originated on, and are chiefly associated with, the social networking service Twitter.   (Oxford English Dictionary)

In an age where social media reigns supreme, the hashtag has emerged as a powerful catalyst for human interaction. Hashtags drive activism (#Occupy, #HeForShe, #BringBackOurGirls), mourning (#63NotOut, #PhilipSeymourHoffman), celebrity-watching (#WhatJayZSaidToSolange, #RoyalBaby) and product promotion (Taylor Swift’s #ShakeItOff campaign, Toyota’s #WishGranted campaign). Hashtags foster dialogue by providing a system of language with its own particular conventions and etiquette. Naming ‘hashtag’ the Word of the Year in 2012, the American Dialectic Society described it as a ‘ubiquitous phenomenon in online talk’. Indeed, the ubiquitous nature of the hashtag was confirmed when the term was officially added to the Oxford English Dictionary in June 2014.

In practical terms, the hashtag – an octothorp (#) accompanied by text – is simply a tool that supports communication on social platforms by allowing users to start conversations, participate in discussions, search for and organise tweets on a particular topic, follow what’s trending and identify other users they wish to follow. Though the hashtag originated on Twitter, its omnipresence as well as the evolution of its usage have invested this cultural phenomenon with social, political, cultural, ideological, aesthetic, linguistic, technological and economic implications that warrant closer examination. The #globalhashtagconference offers a platform for such examination through a series of conferences, workshops, seminars and publications aimed at exploring what the prominence and usage of the hashtag says about society in the 21st century.

As the inaugural event of Inter-Disciplinary.Net’s Social Media Project, the #hashtagglobalconference offers opportunities for participants with an interest in the topic to join in discussions of the issues and debates that have emerged around the meaning and significance of the hashtag within and beyond the context of social media. The organisers therefore invite proposals for presentations, workshops, roundtable discussions, performances, installations, panels, screenings and readings that explore:

# Why cataloguing and organising information matters and what is at stake when hashtags assist in these activities

    Ideological implications around the creation of a hashtag (or the failure for an event to generate a hashtag)
    Implications of ‘framing’ issues through hashtags
    Lifespan of hashtags and the consequences that result when hashtags cease to trend
    Issues of authenticity, reliability, truthfulness of hashtags
    Archiving and assembling with hashtags

# Tangible meaning and significance of ‘trending’

    Methodologies for measuring, analysing and visualising data, hashtag datamining
    Case studies of innovative approaches to generating trends
    Hashtags and monetisation (converting hashtags to action/sales)
    Analysis of unsuccessful hashtag campaigns
    Hashtags in advertising, marketing and public relations, evergreen/forever hashtags

# How the hashtag has influenced the way we engage and communicate with each other

    Hashtags and trolls, cyber-bullying and harassment, smear campaigns (e.g. #GamerGate)
    Irony, wit and humour in hashtags,
    Hashtag games (e.g. #FiveWordsToRuinADate)
    Hashtag rap (e.g. Big Sean)
    Poetry and art with hashtags
    Impact of hashtags on altruistic and narcissistic impulses
    Hashtags as catalysts for groupthink and ‘hive mind’
    Rules, conventions and etiquette around hashtags
    Hashtag journalism, Breaking News
    Hashtag overuse and abuse, hashtag in spoken language (hashtag royal wedding)
    Intercultural comparisons, how do Germans, British, Americans etc. use hashtags (frequency, context, application, content)
    Hashtag wars (e.g. #OpCharlieHebdo, #OpFrance)

# How the hashtag informs the ways in which we experience and understand emotions

    Hashtags as paralanguage
    Hashtags and ritualised mourning for public figures
    Issues of authenticity regarding feelings expressed in hashtags

# How the hashtag affects our relationship with technology

    Hashtags and virtual citizenship
    Hashtags and virtual communities
    Hashtags as tools for negotiating social media

# How the hashtag (dis)empowers us as consumers and producers

    User generated content and its value
    Hashtags and the promotion/rejection of consumption
    From hashtag to bashtag (e.g. #SochiProblems)

# How the hashtag impacts our relationship with institutional power (e.g. media, government, corporate interests)

    Relationship between hashtag activism and offline activism
    Click activism: opportunities and limitations
    Hashtags in institutional politics (Get Out the Vote initiatives, coverage of issues, reactions to political events and speeches)
    Effective strategies for hashtag activism (especially in the context of grass roots movements, charities and NGOs)
    Hashtag hijacking, bashtag (i.e. using promotional hashtag to critique the product rather than praise it) (e.g. #McDStories)
    Representation of hashtags in media and popular culture
    Hashtags and the formation of participatory communities

Please see
for further details and information.

What to Send
300 word abstracts, proposals and other forms of contribution should be submitted by Friday 14th August 2015.
All submissions be minimally double reviewed, under anonymous (blind) conditions, by a global panel drawn from members of the Project Team and the Advisory Board. In practice our procedures usually entail that by the time a proposal is accepted, it will have been triple and quadruple reviewed.

You will be notified of the panel’s decision by Friday 28th August 2015.
If your submission is accepted for the conference, a full draft of your contribution should be submitted by Friday 11th December 2015.

Abstracts may be in Word, RTF or Notepad formats with the following information and in this order:

a) author(s), b) affiliation as you would like it to appear in programme, c) email address, d) title of proposal, e) body of proposal, f) up to 10 keywords.
E-mails should be entitled: #hashtag1 Abstract Submission

Where to Send
Abstracts should be submitted simultaneously to both Organising Chairs:

Organising Chairs:
Petra Rehling: petrarehling@gmx.de
Rob Fisher: hashtag@inter-disciplinary.net

This event marks the launch of the Social Media inclusive interdisciplinary research and publishing project.
It aims to bring together people from different areas and interests to share ideas and explore various discussions which are innovative and exciting.

It is anticipated that a number of publishing options will arise from the work of the project generally and from the meeting of #hashtag stream in particular. Minimally there will be a digital eBook resulting from the conference meeting. Other options, some of which might include digital publications, paperbacks and a journal will be explored during the meeting itself.

Inter-Disciplinary.Net believes it is a mark of personal courtesy and professional respect to your colleagues that all delegates should attend for the full duration of the meeting. If you are unable to make this commitment, please do not submit an abstract for presentation. Please note: Inter-Disciplinary.Net is a not-for-profit network and we are not in a position to be able to assist with conference travel or subsistence.


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