Baroness Thatcher died on Monday; a fact you may already be aware of if you are a particularly astute follower of the media. Her passing has been met equally with plaudits and denigration. 

Personally, while I admire her achievements enormously I never quite agreed with her politics. At the same time I think this is the correct moment in history to put that question aside and mourn the passing of a hugely successful person and a massively significant character in British history.

Something that did strike me as odd in the response to Baroness Thatcher’s death was that there was a genuine confusion on Twitter about whether the person who passed was Margaret Thatcher or the singer Cher.

The problem arose due to the use of the hash tag #Nowthatchersdead. You can easily see where the confusion arose – the lack of capital letters. There were literally thousands of people mourning the death of an American pop star who is, in fact, very much alive.

The tweets included, "RIP Cher, you were an amazing singer. Do you believe in life after love was one of the all time greats. #nowthatchersdead," from Ryan Coburn and an offering from @sexyghosts: "RIP CHER. Just saw the hashtag. Never was a fan myself but you've gotta respect her influence".

So, our own top tips for avoiding confusion with hash tags are:

• Always use capital letters in longer hash tags to avoid the kind of confusion that has arisen this week

• Don’t use punctuation such as apostrophes – if you do the hash tag will stop at the apostrophe. For instance, #Don’tForget should be rendered as #DontForget.

• Watch out for hidden swear words or not-suitable-for-work words in the hashtag. Some people may have come across the infamous URL for a stationery company called Pen Island, which registered its domain without a hyphen or any spaces in it. It conjoined the words pen and island with hilarious results. It’s too easy to make the same mistake with a hashtag.

• Watch out for foreign swear words as well – after all Twitter is an international medium. This isn’t always as easy to do, because you probably don’t speak the language, but running frequently used marketing hash tags for a campaign past someone who speaks the relevant language in your core territories would help.

And finally, whether you are an avid fan of right wing politics or a committed leftie, take a moment at some point to raise a glass to a hugely successful politician. Love her or loathe her, she did change history.

Image courtesy of jscreationzs/

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