Mar 24 2009
What is a Twitter hashtag?
A hashtag is a way to unite global Tweets around some particular topic. Basically, these are tags that that help those who seek similar content discover your Tweets. According to the official source:
Hashtags are a community-driven convention for adding additional context and metadata to your tweets. They’re like tags on Flickr, only added inline to your post. You create a hashtag simply by prefixing a word with a hash symbol: #hashtag.
Hashtags are getting more and more popular (despite the fact some people are against them wishing their Twitter stream to be metadata-free and “as human a form of communication as possible”).
Anyway, I do use hashtags and find them fun, so I am sharing a few tips and resources below.
Where can I find what hashtags people are using?
#hashtags.org is the first place to find most recent and hot hashtags. It also shows each hashtag popularity trend when you hover over:
Twemes.com is another useful resource for discovering new hashtags and tracking those you are interested in. It has a hashtag cloud and also offers RSS subscription to any hashtag stream:
Wthashtag.com is a user generated wiki of hashtags. If you don’t know what any hashtag means or how to use it, you can use the site search and get a well-compiled entry explaining the meaning of the hashtag:
- When it was first discovered;
- External links;
- Live stream using the hashtag:
How are hashtags used?
Generally, a hashtag is a great way to increase your Tweet visibility. However they should only be used if your Tweet adds value to the topic (so don’t insert # sign before each word).
Remember, that hashtags are tracked by people, so don’t waste their time by [I #eat #ice-cream #now] type of messages (this is also likely to rip off your followers). As an example, here are a couple of cases when using a hashtag makes sense:
- To categorize your Tweets based on a particular topic or for a particular purpose – e.g. #followfriday is a fun tradition to recommend your friends (and the whole universe) new people to follow:
- Hashtags are widely used to live-blog an event. This makes following an event much easier (check our recent post on how hashtags help Shane Jones to follow SEO conferences). It is recommended to set your hashtags before starting to live-blog;
Do you use hashtags? Share your favorite ones!
Ann Smarty is the Director of Media at BlueGlass where she serves as the Editor of Search Engine Journal. Ann's expertise in blogging and tools serve as a base for her writing, tutorials and her guest blogging project, MyBlogGuest.com
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- #WhyIsThisConsideredRippingOffMyFollowers #YouDontMakeTheRules #HashtagsCanBeUsedToBringAttentionToSomethingTooEspeciallyWhileRunningOutOfCharacters
- This is a very useful guide for hashtags. I am not a Twitter fanatic but then it it is no harm when I use it for my Blog :D
- There is also a great resource at http://www.whatthetrend.com where users can contribute definitions & vote definitions up and down.
- Hashtags are crucial for events and can be great for those connecting around a common interest or in a common place. Tweet you in #travel or #arizona
- I have been using an established hashtag in several of my tweets, but then when I search on that tag none of my tweets show up - not sure what I'm doing wrong? I am putting the tag at the end of my tweet, with a space before it but no spaces within the tag (#ragandc). Any help is much appreciated, as I'd like to be using these right! Thanks.
- Hashtags.org has been over capacity for months...
- hashtags.org was down (Over Capacity) ? so i tried google for a comparable site. Thanks for your links!
- Hi Ann, wanted to find out more about hashtags so looked up google and found your article. Thanks for sharing this valuable information.
- I'm using hashtags to promote my ebook on Twitter. This way people can follow my progress, and it's easy to keep a timeline.
- Samsaw a new hash tag #BrnSt on Emotional Brain Training News. I think it means Brain State or a way to describe how stressed you are, 1-Feeling Great, 5-Stressed Out.
Much easier way of explaining how you feel to other people in your network.
- GuestThanks for this info. I am still learning about Twitter hashtags and how to use them; your article helps. Much appreciated.
- Thanks for the article. Very easy to follow and helped me find what I was looking for. :)
- Thanks, clear and well explained. A helpful information.
- bubbleduckHi there,
Does anyone know how to find out how many people are following a hashtag?
- The Twitter Chat schedule shows which hashtags are being used for regular collaboration at scheduled times: Check out http://bit.ly/oXBBu for the list.
- As Twitter becomes more of a business marketing tool, hashtags will become a way in which organizations can connect and engage with potential customers interested in their products or services. I am beginning to use hashtags more frequently for business purposes and they really help me to drill down and find very specific individuals that I want to target.
Digital Clarity, LLC
- Your articles always have great information - I am just starting to understand Twitter and this article helped explained how to use this site more effectively. Thanks.
- Twitter trending topics, search and related applicatins thrive on these hashtags, as they serve as noted keywords in the sea of tweets going through the microblogging platform. So determining the perfect hashtag is akin to creating the perfect title for a blog post.
- I've been wondering what hashtags were. Thanks for the info!
- Thanks for the inspiration!
Didn’t see anything similar on Twitter, so I decided to try a celebrity tracking hashtag:
People can add their own faves to the list.
- HotreelThanks for the inspiration!
Didn't see anything similar on Twitter, so I decided to try a celebrity tracking hashtag:
People can add their own faves to the list.
- If there is a way to organize information, humans will try because without some sense of data capture, the experience feels wasted, unfortunately. Thanks for the great info...
- I asked on twitter where to find out about hashtags and this site was recommended, Very useful information, Thanks
- Definitely will start using hash tags more effectively... Thanks for the info.
- I have seen hashtags but didn't know wot they were. Thanks for the help, I'll start using them now and will explore others usuage
- Thanks, I am always looking for new and interesting Twitter tips.
- @Doug, the point in a hashtag is that Tweets are supposed to be more informative and relevant. You won't see any random mentions - just Tweets containing useful information. Therefore it is so important to use hashtags only when you add value to the topic.
- I'd noticed hashtags but hadn't yet worked them out - so many thanx for this, very timely. 80)
- DougI don't understand the value of the hash itself in the hashtag. I can search for tweets about SXSW or #SXSW so what's the point of the "#"?
- The hash is for identifying the keyword in your text. When you want your tweet to be made visible for other searching for SXSW, your tweet should read #SXSW.
- Thanks for the primer on Hashtags, I was one of the confused but feel better now ^_^
- Most useful guide, Ann. It's a great way of adding a very simple indicator of subject within the 140 characters and I've had some most useful and unexpected inputs by searching on hashtags like google for example.
- Thank you for this useful post. I've been using hashtags for a while and I'm happy to see that I've been doing not so wrong.
- i am using hashtags to categorize my tweets for #freeseo. have a nice day!
- Ann thanks a lot for the guide, i have not been using the hashtags until now, but will be really doing that now for sure.
- Oh yes! I use #hashtags quite often. Especially, now that we are promoting 1st Twitter By The Sea Conference Cruise! My fav #followfriday! Thanks for the post. BTW- Great resources
- Great beginners' guide for a Twitter convention that makes sense, especially when the 'stream' gets crowded and you want to focus on an event, a theme, a passion.
- Hashtags are a great way to follow a conversation. I read them in Bloglines; super easy.
- I always use them when responding to someone else who use the hashtag already. Has started some interesting conversations with others who wasn't following me.
- Never herd of them before, will try to use them asap.