The Hashtag

Hashtags are everywhere, after every tweet, every comment on Facebook, and Instagram post. In the past few months I have noticed throughout social media that full sentences are becoming one big hashtag and I asked myself “who is following these topics, is this generating a real conversation?”. I started at the beginning of the hashtag to get a full understanding of the purpose of a hashtag. The hashtag is a mark that is used to categorize topics. It was originally introduced by Twitter as a way to help people create discussions based on a specific topic which then becomes searchable. For example “I want to give a #shoutout to my teammates for making this work day such a huge success”. If you performed a search on Twitter for “shoutout” you would see all the conversations on topics related to “shoutout”. Categorizing topics is such a grand idea that other social media channels adopted this same principal. For instance on Facebook if you include a hashtag in a comment or with a photo the hashtag is clickable so you can then see all the conversations tied to the hashtag you used in your comment or photo.

This idea seems great to keep all the conversations organized by topics but are people really doing this or are they just adding the hashtag in front of every word hoping to generate followers or gain recognition? I did some more digging and there is actually a proper way to use the hashtag and it is not after every word in a sentence. The maximum number of hashtags that should be used is three. The hashtag should be specific in nature. For example if you are a business promoting cheap airfare you should use #cheaptravel or #flightdeals so people can find you when they search these words. If you are new to using hashtags start out by checking out what the trending hashtags are and use them as they relate to the topic you are trying to communicate. Lastly be specific and keep it simple. Now put your hashtag skills to work and start creating meaningful conversations. # # #

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