So what’s with these #hashtags then??

Once you’ve got into Twitter, you’ll start to notice hashtags (the # symbol) all over the show. So what are the purpose of these?

Well, they developed organically amongst twitter users as a way to categorise tweets. If you click on a word that is preceded by a hashtag, you’ll see all the tweets in that category (that contain that hashtag). You can use hashtags to:

  • Create communities of people interested in the same topic by making it easier for them to find and share info related to it.
  • Promote an event. By creating an event specific hashtag, you can generate a buzz before the event and provide updates during and after it.
  • Track subjects that are of interest to you. If you use Twitter search to look for something of interest, the chances are you’ll find a hashtag or two related to it. Then you can follow the hashtag. (If there isn’t one – create one and start the trend!)
  • Get your tweets in front of more people! If you use a hashtag, your tweet will appear to anyone following the tag, whether or not they are following you.

You’ll probably have noticed some very randon hashtags being used – like

Uh oh – now it’s raining! #spoketoosoon

Lots of people use hashtags as a kind of an aside to their main comment. Almost like an under the breath remark, or a disclaimer. There is no strategic value to this (as most of these types will not be followed), but they can be amusing.
Once you get into the whole hashtag thing, you’ll find yourself using them all the time. But don’t OVERuse them. That’s just annoying and dilutes your message. As with everything on social media. the best thing is to get out there, see how others use them, and give it a go. You’ll be hooked before you know it! #nostoppingyounow

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