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Communities / History / Internet / Media / Social media

Who started that #NetDE hashtag everyone uses?

Rodney Jordan created #NetDE in 2009. Now, politicians, nonprofits, reporters and everyday Delawareans use it to stay in the loop.

Many Twitter users across the state use the hashtag #NetDE to connect. (Photo by Flickr user Johan Larsson, used under a Creative Commons license)

The governor uses it. Delaware nonprofit groups use it. Technologists use it. Schools and hospitals use it. Your neighbors use it.
The single thread that ties each of these disparate groups together?
The #NetDE hashtag. It reigns supreme on Twitter and Facebook.
But where’d it come from?
The hashtag was created as a way, creator Rodney Jordan told Delaware, to unify and connect Delawareans, and to inform the community about positive news in Delaware.
“Delaware — it’s a great place to live, work and play — we want to represent that online,” Jordan said.
Here’s a brief explanation from Jordan from 2010:

Jordan, 41, started Discover My Delaware, a print and digital marketing company, about 18 months ago. Prior to that, he operated Network Delaware, a “mini-Discover My Delaware,” in addition to his full-time job.
While using social media to connect Network Delaware to the people living across the state, Jordan noticed that the Delaware-based Twitter accounts he was following began to tweet with the #NetDE hashtag after seeing him add the hashtag their tweets.

It seems to be the mainstream watercooler for Delaware.

News of #NetDE was passed through tweets and word of mouth, and people began copying the hashtag from others, Jordan said. Before long, it was a general catchall, not just shorthand for “Network Delaware.”
It caught on to the point where the governor began using it, as well as many state entities, organizations and nonprofits. Of course, reporters, news publications and television stations also jumped in on the action.
“It seems to be the mainstream watercooler for Delaware,” Jordan said. “It’s a good sample of everything in Delaware and it solidified an impressive collection of people.”
Since 2009, Jordan says the hashtag has been a community resource for Delaware’s social media users — especially in times of crisis, like during Hurricane Sandy and a few of the larger snowstorms.
“It’s a way for us to see things we would normally miss,” he said. “It’s a big Twitterverse out there.”
The hashtag hasn’t always been used for good, though. Jordan remembers a time when #NetDE was used for something other than what he had hoped for. Case in point: the 2010 Republican primary, when Tea Party backed candidate Christine O’Donnell defeated nine-term incumbent Mike Castle for state senate.
“Christine O’Donnell really went against what the hashtag was supposed to mean by bashing Mike Castle. I became disillusioned by that, but I kind of let it go,” Jordan said. “I gave it [the hashtag] to the community. I let it be what the community wants it to be.”
Jordan said he hopes his fellow Delawareans will continue to use #NetDE as a way to unify the community. Hashtags like #HelloDE (for meeting new residents) and #HelpDE (for raising awareness for a person or group in need) also exist, though on a much lesser scale than #NetDE.
“When you’re trying to get something done, any little bit of help can matter,” Jordan said.
Here’s a sampling of recent #NetDE tweets:

[<a href=”//” target=”_blank”>View the story “#NetDE” on Storify</a>]
Companies: Twitter

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