Notes from Newcastle

April 2, 2015

By Christina Corrales-Toy

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A plea to #hashtag it

Newcastle is suffering from an identity crisis.

No, I’m not talking about anything that the city is or isn’t doing. This crisis, it so happens, is simply out of City Hall’s control.

The problem would best be described as a “social media identity crisis.” Go ahead; search ‘Newcastle’ on Twitter. What do you see?

You’ll likely see a lot of tweets about Newcastle United FC, a soccer team in the English Premier League. Though the majority of Newcastle tweets are about the Magpies, they, incidentally, have nothing to do with our Newcastle.

You’ll probably see a few mentions of Newcastle Brown Ale and its #NoBollocks campaign. Again, not in the least related to our Newcastle.

You might fall into the trap that I do at least once a day. You see a tweet mentioning a cool event or the opening of a new restaurant in Newcastle; you click it, only to find that it isn’t our Newcastle. Rather, it’s happening at a Newcastle in Australia or England.

In an age where social media is such an integral part of everyday life, it’s very, very difficult to find an online presence of Newcastle, Washington, the one in the United States.

Social media is increasingly becoming a more important part of my job. In addition to Newcastle News’ online channels, I also manage the Twitter and Facebook profiles of The Issaquah Press and Sammamish Review.

Social media allows us to interact with our readers, find breaking news stories and see what’s going on in the community. I’ll tell you, it’s infinitely easier to do that with unique city names like Issaquah and Sammamish.

When someone tweets about an event in Issaquah, you know it’s happening in Issaquah, Washington. The same goes for Sammamish, though, I often have to filter through tweets mentioning Sammamish High School, which believe it or not, is not in Sammamish.

Some in the Newcastle community utilize the #NewcastleWA hashtag on social media to distinguish our city from the others. It’s a great start, but it will only work if we all commit to use it when we are talking about our Newcastle.

I try to include it in every Facebook post and Tweet I send, as does the Newcastle Chamber of Commerce and the account for Newcastle Earth Day.

So, Newcastle, my plea to you is, let’s make it easier to talk to each other on social media. If you see breaking news in Newcastle, take a really pretty picture at Lake Boren Park or just have something you want to say about your city, use the hashtag #NewcastleWA.

It not only helps me have a better grasp of what’s going on in Newcastle, it will also help you interact with your neighbors and local businesses.

Stop filtering through the soccer, beer and Newcastle upon Tyne tweets, let’s make #NewcastleWA ours and start taking back our identity.

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