It's interesting to see a product or idea used in a manner that it wasn't intended to. The hashtag, is one of these. Some time after hashtags took off on twitter, for the purpose of simple categoriztion of topics, someone, perhaps Nancy Grace among others decided to use the hashtag as a way to categorize without the intent of grouping topics together. In other words, as way to add attribution...
Now Facebook has officially announced searchability and categorization of topics. So if you weren't tired of gems like Nancy Grace's #BabyInDryer or #HIVMurder this may have just encourage wide use of poor hashtagging on another social site. But it brings up a topic that I think is worth mentioning and lad product managers to make difficult decisions. What to do when your product is not used the way you intended? Do you try to re educate consumers, do you alter the product, do away with it?
There are many examples of this happening. One that I saw with frequency with the use of Coca Cola in Mexico City as a cleaning agent for car batteries, but that could be seen as an added value to the drink. Google Wave was one product that was not used as intended but also one that came and went with a bit of confusion. I recall the atention is received, as an end all solution to communicating, and shortly after we received our invites to use it, it felt unnatural and difficult to see its value. I always thought it was a better enterprise solution. Perhaps if they would have left the product as is consumers would have found there own use for it.
And that's what I want to point out here, sometimes consumers will show the creaters of products its best use. And leaving a product in market (if it isnt' draining resources) until it gets figured out or rolling it out before its perfect may be a great way to crowdsource its ultimate value.
- arturo gutierrez