The Standards Game


Establishing a new standard–the #SemiEDA hashtag

imageI’m not sure what evolves faster, semiconductor technology or social media. One thing is certain – they both change quite rapidly. In the Electronic Design Automation industry, Twitter has caught on over the past two years or so. (Moore’s Law-ish?)

One of the most valuable aspects of Twitter is that millions of people are constantly posting information (or misinformation or non-information). All that information is searchable. Twitter users can make their posts easier to find by including a “hashtag” in them. A hashtag is simply a keyword, preceded with the hash symbol (#), that identifies the post as being related to a specific topic.

As more of us began talking about EDA on Twitter, and as we became experienced users of this interesting communication channel, we began including a unique hashtag in our posts (tweets). We chose the obvious, #EDA. Life in Twitterville was good, and we could find conversations about EDA easily.

Recently, people noticed that #EDA was being used in tweets that had nothing to do with Electronic Design Automation. They showed me tweets about the Economic Development Act of 1965, a book about psychology by a person whose first name is Eda, and countless tweets written in different,  non-English languages (I’d print them, but I don’t know what they say; I *do* know they’re not about designing chips).

#EDA had finally become too diluted for several of us in Electronic Design Automation to be useful anymore. (If you’d like to see the dilution, type #EDA into the box at A popular and respected marketing consultant, Daniel Payne (@marketingeda), asked me for help in establishing a new hashtag for the EDA industry. He suggested #SemiEDA, and I agreed that it would be unique and readily associated with our industry. A quick search of Twitter showed that no one was using it.

We started to spread the word that #SemiEDA is a good replacement for #EDA. I expected it would take a while for #SemiEDA to become a standard hashtag that most everyone in EDA would adopt. I’ve been quite surprised, however, to see how fast it’s being embraced. Less than 24 hours after I tweeted “Announcing a new hashtag…”, more than 30 posts had been made that potentially reached 3,600 people!


At the time of this blog post, #SemiEDA is being adopted by more and EDA Twitter users. And their posts are quickly discoverable, unlike those now buried in search results for #EDA.

As the momentum of #SemiEDA builds, we’re continuing to include #EDA in tweets along with #SemiEDA. This can help guide people to the new hashtag in a much less disruptive way than immediately abandoning #EDA.

So welcome to the new standard for Electronic Design Automation on Twitter – #SemiEDA.

BTW, in doing research for this article, I wondered when I first started using Twitter. It was December 19th, 2008. I did not begin with the standard, “I just signed up for Twitter”. :)


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