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From The Toolbox: Twitter #Hashtags

August 15, 2010

I have to admit I’m relatively green to “tweeting” and even greener when it comes to using what are called “hashtags”. Those little # symbols are used to identify topics, to let the Twitterverse know what you’re talking about and to drive the link between related tweets. On August 23, 2007, the Twitter hashtag was born. Invented by Chris Messina (then with the consulting firm Citizen Agency, now an open web advocate for Google), the first tweet with a hashtag read as follows: “how do you feel about using # (pound) for groups. As in #barcamp [msg]?”

First Hash Tag

First Hashtag

The hashtag (symbol #) allows you to create custom channels on Twitter. The use of hashtags in Twitter messages is growing in popularity. Hashtags are a community-driven convention for adding additional context and meta-data to your tweets. They’re like tags on Flickr or in a blog post, only added inline to your tweet. You create a hashtag simply by prefixing a word with a hash symbol: #hashtag. Hashtags (i.e. the “#” sign) can be attached to a keyword and added to a tweet message so that it and all other messages with the same #keyword attached can be looked up and read together.

You can search Twitter for specific channels using your hash tags & with a free registration on HashTag.Org you can get real-time tracking of all your tweets marked with the hashtag. Because they are typical meta tags, they can be collected and analyzed after a campaign.  This will be really helpful in determining the success of a campaign that exists within Twitter.

Here are some ways to get the best use out of your Twitter hashtags.

– Follow Twitter.com/hashtags and they’ll automatically follow you back and start tracking your hashtags for you.

– As you will want to use hash tags to promote your website posts, make sure the word or phrase you use is unique to you. Go to HashTag.Org to see if you’re preferred hashtag is already being used for other posts.

– 140 characters is not a lot to play around with so keep your hashtags as short as you can.

– Google lists Twitter tweets, so it makes sense to use relevant keywords as your hashtags, particularly if your message features a link back to your internet site or web log.

How do you use hashtags when tweeting? What successes have you had? I’m curious to learn more, so I’d like to hear back from you. Thank you for taking the time to read this post!

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. August 15, 2010 5:23 pm

    I too am new to twitter and I have just begun using hashtags. At first I would just go to the side bar and see which tags were “trending now”, and try to come up with something clever so people would retweet it.

    But I also use twitter to promote my blog and it just dawned on me to use hashtags for my blog posts. So I’ve got six posts scheduled for monday that all have hashtags relevant to my blog posts; we’ll see if it works.

    • August 17, 2010 7:07 am

      I’m interested to know how successful your postings were yesterday. Did the tags help?

      • August 18, 2010 1:49 am

        Yeah they really helped out a lot. So I began trying to incorporate #social media and #public relations, and slowly I saw that people began following me; I’ve added about 10 followers since then. Although some of them I don’t follow back because they’re just looking for extra followers. However there were a few who I did follow back and I intend to ask questions of. Thanks!

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