Hashtags 101

25 Sep

In a previous post about Twitter, I mentioned about hashtags. Surprisingly, many of the people I know who use twitter still don’t know about hashtags. That’s why I decided to make a post about it.

What are hashtags?

Hashtags are the words or acronyms with the # symbol in front of them. Twitter support defines this as tags similar to web tags. It adds tweets to categories and makes it easier for people to look for tweets of similar categories. The name hashtags comes from the use of the hash or pound symbol in the start of the tags.

Community creation

More than categorizing tweets, hashtags were developed as a means to create groupings or communities in Twitter without having to change the basic service or system. The hashtags feature is not an official feature that Twitter offers, but due to its popularity, hashtags appear on Twitter search.

Using hashtags

When you use hashtags, and you have a public account, any individual who searches for a certain hashtag may see your tweet. In essence, any word with a # symbol in front of it becomes a hashtag, but there are commonly used hashtags that you may wish to use.

You may want to check out Hashtags.org for popular hashtag activities.

Some advice on etiquette

Since hastags are relatively new, there are no formal rules on its use or etiquette surrounding it.

A good rule of thumb to follow though would be to actually focus on the content of your tweet rather than the tags you can add to it. As with anything, too much is bad, and overuse of tags may cause irritation for others.

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4 Responses to “Hashtags 101”

  1. galeaya September 28, 2010 at 4:36 pm #

    Speaking of hashtags, are you familiar with Late Night with Jimmy Fallon? He replaced Conan O’Brien about a year ago, just as Conan was trying to integrate a Twitter segment into his show, since it was, then, becoming such a big thing in the states.

    Anyway, Jimmy Fallon. He’s doing something relatively new with hashtags – turns them into a segment of the show where he posts something crazy on the Late Night twitter, assigns a hashtag that generally describes what the tweet was about, and then asks people to tweet stuff that are in line with the general thought of the hashtag. His team chooses the most attention-catching tweets tagged with the hashtag and reads them on the show.

    Interesting, isn’t it? I think there’s something like this already being done in the Philippines too (The Buzz? Haha, I’m not in tune with my local news). To sum, I believe a speaker from the Crisis Management seminar held just this previous Monday encapsulated it into a very precise quote, “… new social media is the darling of traditional media…” (and I think it was Mr. Ople who said that).

  2. Marj Casal October 1, 2010 at 5:58 pm #

    I didn’t know they are called Hashtags, too patty! I really suck at Twitter that’s why I’ve never been active until just recently. I’ve always wondered what those things with the sharp sign meant. I remember asking Ian about it and he told me that it’s a sort of thing that helps a topic to become trending. Does it? Hehe. Thanks for this Patty!

  3. strawberrysheepcake October 1, 2010 at 10:47 pm #

    hey patty!it was only yesterday (when we interviewed someone for the podcast) that i’ve learned it is called hashtags. i just call it tags before.hahaha! Our interviewee is an internet activist named Tonyo Cruz. Lucky because I can relate to this post now. Tonyo cruz started this hashtag that became a top trending topic in the whole world. #sentisabado.
    he never anticipated sentisabado to get this far actually, he started it among his twitter clique.

    It’s amazing how hashtags can make people share and relate stories don’t you think?

    p.s. try #sentisabado..its sabado today!!

  4. lstea October 2, 2010 at 2:16 pm #

    Who knew reading required blogs could tell me so many things?

    I also had no idea those were called hash tags. Anyway, I find the decision to just add these hash tags rather than change the service/system quite a fine decision on Twitter management’s part. The simplicity and real time aspect are just few of twitter’s charms that brought the world to its nest.

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