What is a #hashtag?
I just recently joined the Twitter world back in November 2013 (I know, I’m a late little birdie), and it’s honestly the hardest Social Media outlet to understand (at least for me).
It’s almost like you need a code book to reference when trying to understand peoples tweets. I was utterly lost the first few weeks and I can proudly say that today, almost 3 months in, I somewhat know what’s going on….somewhat. lol
One of the biggest sources of confusion for me were the #hashtags. I saw them in almost every post and felt like it was some secret code between the people in the know and I was definitely not one of those people. Finally, a month in, I’d had enough of trying to guess at what it meant and did what all sane people do when they don’t have a clue about something, I “Googled” it.
This is what I learned:
- # – This is called a Hashtag
Ok, Ok. I learned more then that lol.
- Hashtags are keywords that link messages, images and posts together. They can either be one word or a phrase typed after the # symbol with no spaces.
- The main use is to link like minded material together making it easier for people to find information on that particular subject. However, there is a trend going around where you attach hashtags to your post or photo to describe a feeling or to be “funny”. (example: #exhausted #ivegotmombraintoday #muststophashtagging)
- The social media sites that mainly use these are Twitter and Instagram. However, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, Youtube, Vine, LinkedIn, Kickster and Tumblr have started joining the madness.
- Although hashtags were created to link like minded material together the downside is that a single hashtag could be use for many different purposes. Therefore connecting you to a post, image, or message that has nothing to do with the topic you were trying to link up with or look for. On Twitter, spammers are known to use popular hashtags to drive more traffic to their post even though it has nothing to do with it. (This is incredibly frustrating)
- Hashtags, with all it’s faults and annoyances, do have some benefits. If used properly they can help you find new readers, connect with other writers and find out about new opportunities. They can also bring more traffic to your website/profile. Just be sure to use the right hashtag to receive the right traffic and try not to use more then 3 hashtags per post (if you use more it’s not only annoying but it makes you look like a spammer).
A great website to search #hashtags on multiple social media sites is Hashatit.
Here are few examples of #hashtags for writers.
- #India Authors
(There are a ton more #hashtags out there in social media world. Don’t hesitate to do some research to find the right ones for you.)
I also learned that #hashtags were a way to connect Twitter chats together. What’s that you might ask? Stay tuned for my next post! 😉
Do you use #Hashtags?
What are your feelings/opnions on this phenomenon?