The Washington Post bought #Election, the hashtag on Twitter, for the US Midterm election. This meant that as people using Twitter followed the hashtag to keep up on breaking developments for the historic elections, The Washington Post would be guaranteed top billing. Steve Myers of Poynter explained what the Post bought:
The Post’s sponsorship of the term #Election means that it will appear at the top of the list of Trending Topics on Tuesday. When users click on that topic, one of the Post’s tweets will appear above other tweets with the #Election hashtag — giving the Post prime real estate to promote its coverage and updates.
It starts to highlight a way for Twitter to find new revenue streams, and it also showed how media organisations and businesses might use Twitter trends and hashtags to promote their content. Just as newspapers have bought search terms to promote their content for the last few years, I expect to see quite a healthy market develop for sponsored trends and hashtags in markets where Twitter is strong including the US and the UK.
The Post also used Twitter to allow their audience to ask questions of their political blogger Chris Cillizza. The Post, which was my hometown paper for almost seven years, is breaking some new ground here. They have long had live Q&A’s with their reporters, but now they are using Twitter to connect to an engaged audience online.