Blogger Meetups, Twitter Hashtags and Contests

This is a long pending post I’ve been wanting to write for a long time now and it’ll be a rant. You have been warned.

Being from Bangalore, we bloggers don’t get to attend as many press conferences and product launches as our friends from Delhi (and to a certain extent, Mumbai) do. So the companies and their PR agencies usually decide to have ‘blogger meetups’ to ‘engage’ with the city based bloggers. Usually, these meetups are nothing but pitches and promotions of the brand or the products, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. What’s bad, or I must say, what bothers me is what happens during these events.

Twitter Hashtags & Contests

Over the past couple of years, blogger engagement has become synonymous with social media engagement. Rather than pitching the products or the brand to the bloggers, the PR agencies aim to get trending on twitter. Being a compulsive tweeter, I do tweet about the happenings and the product in focus most of the times, usually appended with a hashtag. The whole purpose of using hashtags on twitter is to provide quick access to all tweets from tweeple attending an event to those who missed out, but interested in knowing what’s happening.

Problem arises when these agencies announce a contest associated with twitter & hashtags. More often than not, the contest is to tweet as much as possible by including the official hashtag. As you’d expect, it ends up being spammed left and right, without adding any value whatsoever. Below is a snapshot of one such contest. I’ve deliberately removed the hashtag, twitter handles and display pics, as my issue is not against a particular brand or a PR agency or a person.


The hashtag might end up trending for a short while, but I don’t think it will ever help the company in a positive way. Anyone and anything getting associated with spamming cannot help a brand in the long run.

Blogger meetups vs Tweetups

From what I’ve seen, at least in Bangalore, there is no clear cut distinction between bloggers and social media enthusiasts. Yes, there are cases where the two overlap, but as a host, you should clearly know whom you are inviting. I’ve been to many ‘blogger meetups’ over the past 5 years, but sadly (and I’m sorry to say this), most of them are dominated by those who aren’t active in the blogosphere, but only turn up for those stupid twitter spamming contests, free food, free booze and free gifts.

Yes, some of them, in PR terms, are ‘influential’, but in what way? Why not simply call it a tweetup? At least it will help someone like me to decide if I should bother to attend the event or not.

Last evening, I attended a couple of these events. One was called a bloggers meet and another claimed to be an interaction event in the backdrop of a launch which happened earlier this week. The bloggers meet was the usual twitter spamming contest driven event, while the other one was truly an interaction event devoid of hashtags and contests. No need to say which one I enjoyed to be part with. Though both the events had the same set of attendees, the same people were so much more fun, engaging and knowledgable in the latter event.

The brand and products in both these events were truly worth talking about, but sadly one ended up being associated with spam.