published Friday, July 26th, 2013

Hashtag battle ignites over Obama's planned visit to Chattanooga

Are you glad Obama is coming to Chattanooga?


* #CommanderInCHA


* #Obamanooga

* #ObamAHHinCHA

* #BarackIsInTheHouse


Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke's office moved its budget presentation from Tuesday to Wednesday at 2 p.m. because of President Barack Obama's visit to the Scenic City. Council Chairman Yusuf Hakeem said he asked Berke's staff to move the meeting time so more residents and city employees will attend.

What the tweet should the twitterverse be calling President Barack Obama's first-ever visit to the Scenic City?

A hashtag war is being waged at this very moment deciding this question and sides are being chosen. #CommanderinCHA or #POTUSinCHA. (POTUS, for the layperson, stands for president of the United States.)

It started Wednesday night, said Jon Moss, owner of Moss Media Labs, a local digital marketing consultant.

The news was out about Obama's visit to Amazon, but no hashtag had been claimed. So Moss and several others met in a Google chat room to make a decision.

"We were jotting down different things. 'CHA' is a common moniker. Then we were playing around with 'POTUS.' 'ObamainCHA.' Someone said, "Hey, what about 'commanderinCHA.' I said, 'That is kind of clever.'"

They told the mayor, the Chamber of Commerce: Use. This. Hashtag.

Then a rebellion started. #ObamaNooga. #POTUSinCHA.

"We're using #ObamaNooga over #CommanderinCHA or #POTUSinCHA. [We] ... decreed it, and it shall be so," wrote Galen Riley.

"One is clever. One uses less characters. I might have to use #BarackIsInTheHouse," wrote Emily.

Tensions were high. It's funny, but it's serious too, said Moss. Hashtags shouldn't be political, he said. They shouldn't be for individual humor. They are to collect community conversations, keep a city in the loop about important things like what road the president just turned down, what his entourage looks like and what color tie he is wearing.

Still, some wondered, why the bickering?

"Why the vicious hashtag battle?" Bill Colrus wrote Wednesday on Twitter.

"Is it sweeps? Is the President giving the Sharrocks another house? #ChillCHA."

Contact staff writer Joan McClane at or 423-757-6601. Follow her on Twitter at @JoanGarrettCTFP.

about Joan Garrett McClane...

Joan Garrett McClane has been a staff writer for the Times Free Press since August 2007. Before becoming a general assignment writer for the paper, she wrote about business, higher education and the court systems. She grew up the oldest of five sisters near Birmingham, Ala., and graduated with a master's and bachelor's degrees in journalism from the University of Alabama. Before landing her first full-time job as a reporter at the Times Free Press, ...

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