Welcome to the GoTriangle blog’s first post-holiday Transit Thursday! In the spirit of the new year and new beginnings, I’ve decided to take us all the way back to another beginning: the creation of Transit Thursday itself.
In my first week as Triangle Transit’s interactive marketing associate, I was introduced to a new realm of acronyms and hashtags (BOSS, #fortifyfriday, STRNC, etc). As I met with coworkers in different Triangle Transit departments, my planner quickly became a glossary of these foreign terms and their respective specialists. I drew lines from each person’s name to an acronym, but not everyone was so clearly categorized. When I first sat down with Meghan Makoid, I left our meeting with several key phrases: environmental planner, social media queen, and #TransitThursday creator.
A hashtag creator? How does someone create a hashtag? It’s simple, really. On Twitter or Facebook, you type in the # key followed by a certain phrase. It can be as complex as #mynameisgraceandilovecats or, like I said, as simple as #cats, although shorter is usually better. There is even a website called How to Hashtag with hashtag rules (note, rule #2 is “keep them short”). A hashtag can be anything you want, but the magic really happens when other people start using your hashtag. That’s exactly what took place when Meghan first tweeted using #TransitThursday in 2012. Four countries, fifteen states and one district participated in her original #TransitThursday post. You can even view the post over on Meghan’s tumblr.
Today, transit systems and riders separated by continents and oceans have already tweeted their #TransitThursday posts. Riders in Pittsburgh and Des Moines are exchanging transit tips. Social media is amazing in that it creates dialogue between people who may never actually meet face-to-face, but Meghan’s passion and dedication to #TransitThursday is even more inspiring to see in person. With the help of our video marketing associate, I decided to put a face to the hashtag and find out how it all began from the creator herself:
You can follow Meghan on Twitter at @mamakoid and on Tumblr at http://meghanplanstransit.tumblr.com/.