Social Media Guide For Fans – Chapter 2 Basics 1: Hashtags

Hashtags – Not What’s For Dinner

Before getting into the specifics of Twitter, Facebook, etc. let’s look at a tool that is useful on both those services, as well as Instagram, Google+, Tumblr, YouTube and more: hashtags

 

A hashtag is a word or an unspaced phrase prefixed with the hash symbol, also used for “sharp” in music scores, “pound” in weight  (#). Some hashtag samples are:

°       #DHC-TV

°       #RedSox

°       #FF  [means “Follow Friday”; used for tweets on Friday with the Twitter handles of accounts you think more people should follow, e,g,. “#FF @HipHarpist – she plays an electric harp!”]

°       #LOFNOTC [means “Losers Of Friday Night On Their Computers”; started as a joke by musician Amanda Palmer as a virtual Twitter hangout after a discussion of why she and her fans were all on Twitter instead of out having fun]

Hashtags are used so that people interested in a specific topic or event can find others posting about it even if they are not people you follow or have friended. You can search for posts containing a specific hashtag with the search field of your Twitter app or when accessing Twitter in your web browser (click photo to view larger):

Searching hashtag #honkfest to find people posting about the parade held last October

Searching hashtag #honkfest to find people posting about the parade held last October

This allows strangers to have ad hoc conversations on Twitter (e.g., someone says “Let’s have a harp meetup on Twitter at 8pm Friday – everybody use #harptalk in their Tweets”)  (click photo to view larger):

A TweetDeck column set to find the weekly discussion among Steampunk fans via the hashtag #steampunkchat

A TweetDeck column set to find the weekly discussion among Steampunk fans via the hashtag #steampunkchat

If you hear someone say, “ Topic X is trending on Twitter” that usually means many people are tweeting about an event or person using a hashtag, like #superbowl. So having lots of tweets using a performer-related hashtag increases the likelihood people will hear about the her/him even if they are not familiar with the act themselves.

Coming up next: Twitter – tagging, hashtagging, re-tweeting, conversations

Previous: Chapter 1 – Introduction 

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  1. Pingback: Social Media Guide For Fans – Chapter 1 Introduction | What Betty Knows

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