Thursday Buzz: Boston’s Events Venue Gets a Major Upgrade

The skinny on a just-passed $1 billion plan to revamp the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. Also: A Wall Street Journal reporter highlights just how many brand-focused hashtags are occupying user feeds.

The ink is still fresh from Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick’s signature.

Courtesy of that pen, “An Act Relative to the Expansion of the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center,” or H. 4308, will pave the way for an expansion of the city’s largest events venue by 1.3 million square feet—an increase of more than 50 percent.

Officials noted that the upgrade could encourage more international events to come to the city.

“Our economy is grounded in knowledge-based industries, and the ability to host events and thought leaders from major international corporations in Boston is something a world-class city needs to be able to do,” Massachusetts Convention Center Authority Executive Director James Rooney told The Boston Globe, per MassLive.

As Meetings Focus notes, the new law helps MCCA with its “Top 5” campaign—a strategy launched in 2009 to make Boston one of America’s top five cities for conferences and events. (According to the 2013 edition of Cvent‘s “Top 50 Meetings Destinations in the United States,” Boston currently ranks 18th.)

The expansion, which will allow the city to host multiple large-scale events at once, will be paid for with funds from the state’s existing 5.7 percent tax on hotel rooms, according to the Boston Herald. In other words, no new taxes.

Who’s Actually Following Hashtags?

For many organizations, it’s not enough to ride along with common, popular hashtags like #tbt (Throwback Thursday) or industry-specific hashtags like #assnchat. They want to create their own. But are those efforts in vain?

To explore that question, Wall Street Journal reporter Erica E. Phillips followed the conversations sparked by all of the hashtags she came across during a single day.

All in all, she was hit by 60 brand-related hashtags, and the results weren’t exactly spectacular.

“In nearly every case, the immediate responses on Twitter to non-network ads were slim to none,” Phillips wrote. “I examined the chatter during the 20 minutes following each hashtag’s appearance on television and only one, #pretzellovesongs, elicited more than one substantive response.”

Most of those hashtags were focused on entertainment or promotional campaigns, but the central point holds true for associations: Hashtags are hard. But that’s not to say they’re impossible to conjure up; after all, we’ve written about #assnchat’s success before, and hashtags focused on industry events and conferences remain successful. (ht @EEPhillips_WSJ)

Other good reads

For those less versed in Twitter’s minutiae, Ignite Social Media Community Manager John Patterson highlights one trick that your association may not be aware of: Twitter cards.

Trying to boost productivity?‘s John Brandon has a few ideas. Our favorite: Switch offices every few days.

“Content is king,” Bill Gates once said. But is that really the case anymore? Blogger Colleen Dilenschneider says it isn’t.

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick signs the bill allowing for the expansion of the facility. (photo by Kenshin Okubo / Flickr)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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