Hashtags of the Week (HOTW): AIDS/HIV (Week of November 26, 2012)

World AIDS Day 2012

It’s always interesting trying to track a single event, concept, or condition through Twitter, because so many different hashtags might be used. There truly is no standardized controlled vocabulary, as you would find in MEDLINE. There are strengths and weaknesses of both approaches. The weakness of the open approach is that any one approach won’t catch everything on the topic, and that it can be hard to find all the related terms or tags. So, if you want to be focused or comprehensive, then open web search or hashtags on Twitter isn’t the easiest way to go after a concept. On the flip side, it is absolutely fascinating to track different communities and how they approach any given concept. Working through hashtags almost makes it easier to find just the folk who agree with you, but if you dig deep into the range of hashtags and terms for a concept, you can find these amazing and interesting patterns that reveal less obvious relationships. Wonderful explorations to be had.

Tomorrow is World AIDS Day. There is an official hashtag with a standard format which has been used for years. Even so, many of the official organizations are not using it, instead either abbreviating or spelling out the full name of the event as a single hashtag or breaking the name into many hashtags (#World #AIDS #Day #2012) or other variations. There are also special campaigns with their own hashtags, community hashtags, population hashtags, organization hashtags, disease-specific hashtags, and more. Here are just a few of the ones that appeared without a lot of digging. A surprising range, isn’t it?

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