Anyone engulfed in the lifestyle that is Twitter knows how to use them; anyone on the outside looking in sees them as some sort of annoying typo. Hashtags: what EXACTLY is the point of them and why have them become so huge in the world of Twitter?
For anyone new to the concept, a hashtag is a way for Tweeters to connect with the other million people using the fun, social networking service. By simply adding a “#” in front of a word, it links your tweet to every other tweet containing the same word. For example, if you were to tweet “I love #Christmas,” the word “Christmas” would show up as a link, which would bring you to a page displaying the tweets of everyone else who said the same thing. While this is a great way to get your ideas to the public, sometimes hashtags are used completely the wrong way.
A wise tweeter once said (and by who, I mean me, since I am so experienced in this area), think before you hashtag. Yes, it’s fun to hashtag something amongst friends as an inside joke, or to enforce some strong feeling that you may have about a topic; but the way people abuse the hashtag is actually very upsetting and straddles the line of annoying. Because of this, I’ve compiled a list of do’s and don’ts of hashtagging. Use them at your own discretion, but remember, you’ve been warned.
- DO stop hashtagging absolutely everything. #ReadingATweetThatLooksLikeThis will never get your point across, EVER.
- DO use them to connect with your favorite stores/celebrities/etc. For example, After a simple tweet regarding the Wiz Khalifa concert at URI, I met some people that worked with the popular recording artist before his show. By placing an appropriate hashtag in front of the celebrity’s name, his people were able to come across my tweet easily, extending a fun experience to myself and some friends.
- DO be specific when it’s necessary. Instead of saying, “I hate this #mall,” say “I hate #SpecificMall” instead. Most of the time, big businesses keep an eye out for the opinions of users in the social networking world. If they see you’re upset or unhappy about an experience, they might extend a deal to compensate you for your troubling day.
- DON’T keep your twitter account private. This doesn’t go for everyone (especially if you say things that you’d rather not like to share with the entire world), but if you are trying to be particularly savvy in terms of social networking, a private profile will get you no where. As much as you tweet or hashtag to get attention or recognition, anyone who is not following you will not be able to read what you have to say. So publicize your page. Your tweets about being drunk and disorderly this weekend probably weren’t even that cool, anyways.
- DO keep up with what’s trending in your area. Twitter has a cool way of letting you see what’s trending in areas close by. Set your twitter so you can see these top ten items, and include them in your tweets. Since they are the most popular topics in a place close to you, it might help you with networking opportunities. Any one else tweeting them will be able to read what you have to say.
- DO remember that you can use hashtags to your benefit. As lame as it may sound, this simple form of internet punctuation might actually help you in an important situation. The internet is an epic new life form that is growing by the millisecond. As long as you keep up with it, you can use it to benefit yourself and others.
As you can tell, hashtags are slowly taking over the world. Tweet us with your favorite #hashtags and let us know which ones annoyed you the most this year. We may feature them in an upcoming post!