Yes, it can! I experienced it myself just a couple of days ago when I first read about #OMGKRK and started reading more about it to find out what the story was all about. It was the beginning of a movement of a small group of people that rediscovered the true power behind hashtags and started using them for their only true purpose: finding people with the same interests and keeping each other updated about new events. No marketing bullsh*t, no acquisition of new followers, just pure updates about interesting events in an area. To put it short: building a real community with no strings attached.
Today most of us are using Twitter and some of us also use so called hashtags that should make it easier to find short messages from people sharing the same interests like we do. To be honest I barely used this feature, only if I wanted to increase my follower base. It seems that the true power of hashtags was somehow lost over the last couple of years. With billions of tweets and hashtags out there, marketing gurus and branding engineers telling us that we absolutely need an own hashtag we somehow got tired of the entre thing. That's at least my personal feeling. Honestly speaking, I never really got the true sense of it anyways.
But what just happened a couple of days ago in the beautiful city of Krakow looks like pure magic to me, an eye opener, maybe even a game changer. The wizard that made the magic happen goes by the name of Tyler Crowley who visited Krakow a couple of days ago. He let the local startup community, or at least some of them (~300) vote for their community hashtag and what they came up with was #OMGKRK. Ever since it spreads like wildfire. As it seems he pulled this one off before already, in cities like Stockholm and LA. Meetings in Stockholm have peaked since with more than 800 people showing up to local startup meetups. Not sure if there were ever any bigger local meetups on this planet.
This was a pure stroke of genius! Having recently visited Krakow myself I was surprised by the energy and enthusiasm of the local startup scene. It was clear that the startup scene there was beginning to flourish and about to prosper, but what it needed, and what I guess pretty much every local startup community needs is a fast, reliable and scalable platform that doesn't depend on people manually inserting preselected news to organize itself. Nothing fancy with no revenues in the back of someone's head. And that’s exactly what Tyler made the the local community discover. Brilliant!
I guess what I am trying to say is that every local startup community should have a Tyler that brings together the entire scene and then lets people discover and vote for their own hashtags to build their communities. It's so damn efficient and we can all experience it firsthand right now by observing the simply incredible pace of what's going on in Krakow ever since. I have only been there once, but I already feel a strong bond just by being able to connect with the people through this simple hashtag. Just go on Twitter or Facebook and type in #OMGKRK and you'll be surprised about what can happen in just a couple of days! So let's go out there, show our local communities some love and get connected with our own community hashtags!!
Thx for making this startup world such an easier place Tyler! Looking forward to seeing more and more things coming from the Dragon Valley aka Krakow!