For some time now, Xpress has helped to create and cultivate Twitter hashtags to better aggregate the news and offer a forum for people from around the community.
Using hashtags in twitter is easy, just put the # sign in front of a series of letters, and everyone following that hashtag will see your comments. The hashtags below — the ones Xpress routinely posts to — occasionally serve as a site for live coverage of events as well as general news or remarks. For example, reporters, citizens and local officials all use the #avlgov hashtag to report news, ask questions, express their opinions and even make the occasional snarky remark about local government. This post contains links to the relevant hashtags too, so people who don’t feel like using Twitter can take a look if they wish.
While all of the below hashtags heat up at various times — around big news events, for example — they remain in use constantly. There’s no constraint to posting your opinions, questions or observations there.
avlnews This is the general hashtag for news around the Asheville area. Most Xpress news articles are posted under this hashtag, along with general commentary about the news of the day.
avlent This is the overall hashtag for arts and entertainment of all varieties in the Asheville area, including performances and big announcements.
avlgov Events concerning local government go under this hashtag. Live Twitter coverage of Asheville City Council, Buncombe County Board of Commissioners also goes under this tag.
avleat Food news and developments, from what local places are serving to thoughts on restaurants and local food culture.
avlbiz Asheville business news. If you’re looking for openings, closings, expansions or other economic news, this is the place. Live coverage of economic forums or events sometimes goes under this hashtag as well.
avlhealth In addition to health updates and opportunities, news about the area’s sizable health sector (Mission Hospitals, etc.) goes under this hashtag.
avlelect Local election news — from City Council to Congress — is the focus of this hashtag. Mostly dormant during non-election parts of the year, but much more active during campaign season.
avlenv Environmental news.
avlwx Weather events and forecasts.
wavl West Asheville goings-on.
Some additional hashtags our readers have pointed out:
avlbeer Beer news, in Beer City USA. Can’t believe I forgot to include this hashtag in the original roundup.
avlgb Green building news.
avlmusic More focused on music specifically than #avlent.
Of course, anyone can create a hashtag, and enterprising Ashevilleans do that on a regular basis, often for a given event or seasonal occurrence (belechere, moogfest and avlsnomg, for example). No doubt this list will need occasional updates, as someone realizes an unmet need, makes a hashtag, and gets people talking. While compiling this list, I got some great responses via Twitter from people with additions or suggestions, and even some talk about possible hashtags for traffic, non-profits, and uncomfortable truths/rants. If any of those become widely used, we’ll add them to the list.
This still isn’t a comprehensive list, and if you know of one we missed, let us know.
It’s also useful to spell out the (admittedly somewhat loose) criteria we use for this list.
1) It’s generally for ongoing hashtags, not event specific.
2) It’s generally for hashtags with regular updates and discussion going on.
3) It’s for hashtags where users have come to some consensus on which one to use for a topic. If, for example, there’s several hashtags about a single topic (as there are for the Asheville area’s photos), we haven’t included it.
4) It’s for hashtags that have acquired some measure of widespread use, even if there might be occasional dry spells. Some promising hashtags (#avlgive for nonprofits, for example) simply haven’t developed the regular amount of content yet to get included. Hopefully, some of these will grow over time, and I look forward to including them in future updates of this list.
— David Forbes, senior news reporter