The Unlikely Tale of the #GlosBiz Hashtag

16th August, 2010: The very nature of Twitter, not least as it is already four years old, is that most word combinations have already been aired at some point – very, very, very little is likely to be genuinely new.

So when I typed the hashtag #GlosBiz in a tweet around a week ago, it was hardly likely to be ground-breaking in the slightest. The term had just come about in my mind as a straighforward way of highlighting local business.

My tweet went something like this, “If we all spend just £1 per week with a local #GlosBiz instead of a supermarket, imagine the difference it would make”.

After a bit of reflection, I then followed it with (more or less), “Use the #GlosBiz tag to raise awareness of local business. Pls RT”.

What happened next was, in my view, just one of those ‘right place, right time’ moments.

Within hours, literally, the tag had spread across Gloucestershire and was being used by businesses of all sizes, customers of businesses, fans, even potential customers. Within 24 hours it had reached New York and was indexing on Google, and within 48 hours local PR people were picking it up, other ‘Biz’ tags had been created for other areas across the UK, and the whole idea of a Biz tag to highlight local businesses had taken on a life of its own.

By now, one week on, there are many, many people using and watching the #GlosBiz tag, with many more tags being created.

So far, the tags I know of are:

#GlosBiz

#SomBiz (Somerset)

#EastMidsBiz

#HfdBiz (Herefordshire)

#BrisBiz (Bristol)

#StaffsBiz (Staffordshire)

#WorcsBiz (Worcestershire)

#MKBiz (Milton Keynes)

#HantsBiz (Hampshire)

#BerksBiz (Berkshire)


Update (26 Nov 2010), also now includes:

#WalesBiz (Wales)

#NorthantsBiz (Northamptonshire)

#OxonBix (Oxfordshire)

#LonBiz (London)

#YorksBiz (Yorkshire)

#SussBiz (Sussex)

#SurBiz (Surrey)

#BrumBiz (Birmingham)

#LincsBiz (Lincolnshire)

#McrBiz (Manchester)

#ChesBiz (Cheshire)

#WiltsBiz (Wiltshire)


…among others!

The #GlosBiz tag is now being used creatively to:

  • attract new customers, mostly local
  • let people know what a business does
  • promote offers
  • connect businesses and other interested parties
  • provide a mini directory of local businesses
  • help people find a local business that does specific things
  • help local job hunters find out more about local businesses
  • help local employers raise their profile
  • promote a business, often in conjuncion with other local Biz tags

and that’s just for starters!

How the #GlosBiz tag took off, and the exact reasons for it could be, I’m sure, debated for hours on end.

But the reality is that it satisfied the 3 key elements to take it beyond its ‘tipping point’, namely:

  1. the idea is contagious – it appeals to many people in one place (Twitter), and is easy to use and remember
  2. little causes have large effects –  a few tweets from me, then a few re-tweets, and a few very brief explanations of what the tag could be used for, and it exploded
  3. the change happens in one short, dramatic moment – from a single tweet to international use and indexing on Google in less that 24 hours

So there you are – a brief history of how a chance, random phrase turned into something with the potential to influence lots of people, lots of businesses, and hopefully improve all of their fortunes.

If you know of a local/regional Biz tag in your area, please add it below to help creat a full list – thank you.

I’ll add updates of how the tag is spreading as and when I can – in the meantime, if you’re a local business, or have any interest in local business, however spurious, in Gloucestershire, then please, please use the #GlosBiz tag in your tweets – it really can make a difference!
As of late 2013, the #GlosBiz hashtag now reaches over 1 million people each week – for FREE!
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