WHAT THE HECK IS A HASHTAG??

I run across of lot of people who have started a Twitter account and walked away because they don’t see the value in the platform.  I find myself telling them over and over again that in order to make Twitter effective you have to make the jump to another desktop application. My favorite is Tweetdeck, but there are others out there like Twhirl and Seesmic.

Tweetdeck

Once you begin using one of these applications, you will notice that you are now able to organize your tweets and you’ll get a lot more out of your Twitter time.  You can view multiple customizable columns. You can also create a group, for example, before I go speak at a conference I like to find out who the other speakers are and begin following them. I will place them all in a group titled “Speakers for ABC,” now their tweets and their tweets only fill up that column.

Another way I use the columns is by choosing to search for a hashtag. You may be saying…”Hashtag??…Whatcha talkin’  bout Willis?” (P.S. If you are a Gen Y-er you have no idea what I just said…so I’ve included a short video for your viewing enjoyment!)

So, back to hashtags. Hashtags are basically an agreed upon acronym or word that anyone on twitter can use to follow topics of interest to them. A hashtag always starts with a # and then any word or combination of letters follows. For example, when Iran was experiencing the riots, people who were tweeting about it included #Iran in all of their tweets. This allowed others, myself included, to do a search on #Iran and see everything that was being said. EVERYTHING. Regardless of whether I was officially “following” the tweeters on Twitter or not.

There are a lot of popular hashtags out there so let me clarify a few for you.

#FollowFriday or #ff: On Friday, the Twitter community (all of us) sends out recommendations on who to follow. So you will see this hashtag followed by a bunch of names

#Eventprofs: One of my faves, focused on event industry professionals. They have Tweet Chats every Tuesday and Thursday and discuss a particular topic

#jobs: Great way to post jobs via Twitter

You can create your own hashtag, but before you do, it is always good to go to http://search.twitter.com to make sure it is not already taken. Once you find out it is still available, just start using it and promoting it.

Ok…get out there…start tweeting and hashtaging (my new word for the day).  🙂

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