A #Hashtag for a #Hashtag Only Ends Up Leaving the Social Media World Blind
I've been a participant in the storage industry for more than a dozen years. I've been in the trenches on some of the more exciting pitched battles with many companies, and can even remember when tape formats mattered. Who can forget the frenzy around LTO vs DLT? Okay, so maybe a few of the pitched battles were more exciting than some, Tape vs. Disk, Inline vs. Post-process Dedupe and iSCSI vs. FC to name a few.
Regardless, the battles were always passionate, no matter what company sat where, they all had something to say. Marketing/PR usually reflected something clever that end users and the communities the companies were trying to reach could latch onto.
Data Domain was a good example of a company able to latch onto the emergence of deduplication to change the dynamic around disk versus tape-based backup and helping to "fix" the perceived broken backup issues.
So, I like many watchers in the storage industry took particular interest when another pitched battle started a few weeks back in the Twittersphere between NetApp and EMC. As Chris Mellor (@chris_mellor) at The Register had astutely pointed out a few weeks back in this story, the focus for much of EMC's attention in their recent launch effort was on NetApp. What quickly became a battle for midrange storage minds, turned into an extra large serving of snark, with hashtags flying and tweeters weighing in on #NotApp and #EMCrappy. Personally, I haven't found great success in disparaging others, or poking fun at anyone on a social network. Sure, #Twitpissing, #TwitSmacking and #TwitDowns can seem like fun and good ideas at the time, but most of the time they do little more than distract from what people need to care about, substance and content.
That's not to say you can't bring passion or a strong belief that what you feel, see and do are important, especially in social conversations, but, if the end result you are looking for is meaningful dialog, do you really get what you want by snarking about it?
As Martin Glassborrow (@storagebod) noted in this story on The Register yesterday, when you focus on the hype and gamesmanship, you can lose the focus on what matters most. That story and a follow on post on his personal blog, serve as good reminders, that if we in PR are helping to shape customer perceptions, do we do ourselves and the companies we serve any favors by diluting the message into a war of hashtags? I wonder.