Finding time to understand and use hashtags on Twitter had not been a big part of my Twitter practice ’til now, but it appears to definitely be worth the time investment.
In a post on Twitip last month, Marcus Emmanuel Barnes wrote titled “Why You Should Consider Using Hashtags” that helped me to think about hashtags differently. I hope it’ll do the same for you.
One of the key concepts to help understand hashtags is to think of them as keywords or keyword tags. If you have a website or blog, you are probably aware of keywords. They are the “key” words that search engines will use to connect people who search for some combinations of those words to your information on the web.
Hashtags serve a similar function on Twitter. As Marcus Barnes writes:
“There at least a couple ways that hashtags help people find you on Twitter. The most basic is that in the Twitter interface, hashtags are hyperlinks. When people click a hashtag that interests them, say #twitter, they receive real-time search results of other tweets that have utilized that hashtag.”
While hashtags are very helpful in allowing others to connect with your information on Twitter, the converse is true, too. You will find hashtags a great tool for finding tweeps with interests similar to yours. It’s a wonderful tool for aggregating information and creating small (or large) communities on Twitter.
Marcus Barnes, on his blog, has shared a post with a List of Twitter based Apps that Use Hashtags. For example, twubs is an application that allows you to find groups that are built around hashtags. Here’s a nice, concise definition of a hashtag, from the twubs site:
“What is a #hashtag? A user-created standard for identifying tweets belonging to a topic. Simply include the tag in your tweet and other people searching for the same tag will be able to find it.”
Do you use hashtags now? Have you been puzzled by them? Intrigued? I challenge you to find time to start using them this week – say on every 5th tweet.
© Copyright 2010 Paula Eder, Ph.D.