Western Canada's contribution to the Twitter world

I've been meaning to discuss this one for a while: on Twitter, most western Canadian cities have brought out 3 letter hashtags representing the IATA codes for their cities.

It began in Edmonton (CYEG), and spread from there. Now, whenever you need to talk about Edmonton on Twitter, you use #yeg (as the referral tags on this blog use as well) and people know what you're talking about. This only works in western Canada, tragically. Especially in North America, this could really take off. It does, after all, have a great deal of advantages:

  1. It's short: the 140 character Twitter limit really requires you to craft your comments very very carefully. As a worst case scenario you "lose" 6 characters using "#yeg". Here's an example of what I mean:
    Kevin Kromm knows how to use a defibrillator. He saved a life. Volunteering is about stepping up before being asked. Thanks Kevin! #yyc
    The meat of the tweet ends at "Kevin!" In a lot of tweets, the punctuation at the end would be a period, and likely superfluous. Assuming the period wouldn't be strictly necessary, add the period + the space + # + the three letters of the IATA code. In other situations you lose none. Replace "Calgary" in the middle of a tweet with "#yyc" and you've replaced 7 letters with 4. #Montreal, of course, would just be #yul which also avoids having to distinguish between #Montreal and #Montréal as well: an extra advantage. 
  2. It's unique. Vancouver is both a city in British Columbia and also Washington State right next door (which, lets be honest, is silly and makes no sense). However, the Vancouver airport in BC is YVR while the airport in Washinton is VUO. This way both cities have their own hashtag which doesn't interefere with the Twitter enjoyment of the other. I couldn't imagine having to dig through the feed to find information about my town if I lived in Denver City, Texas (TX2)
  3. It's easy to look up for somebody who isn't a native to the town. I've never been to Denver City, Texas: but I can look up the IATA code for its airport as well as anybody. Which ties into...
  4. It's the same for the whole city. Very few burgs have multiple airports, and those that do typically have a major one. The rare exceptions, like "#nyc" for New York probably wouldn't be that numerous to have as anything but a well known exception.
  5. It's easy to determine which tag to use for a city. Toronto, I believe, uses "#Toronto". But some people like "#TO" because its shorter, but then it gets confused for Terrel Owens. Is it "#NewOrleans" or "#BigEasy" or "#NOLA"? If I was thinking about going to New Orleans or talking about my vacation there, I might want to ask questions or get involved with the local Twitter community. A smaller centre, like say Prince George, may stymie an American tourist. Do they use "#PG" or "#PGeorge" or "#PriGeo" or "#LandFullofSmellyNativeGirls"? Without the western Canadian standard universal across Twitter, they'll tragically never know the real answer is "#yxs" or at the very least not understand why.
With all these advantages are there any disadvantages? Well, one...

If Mandel gets his way, Leduc won't have a code of its own...