The Anatomy of a #Hashtag

Feb 2013

Unless you’ve been living under a virtual rock, chances are you’ve encountered a hashtag (#getwitthetimes). In fact, they are quickly becoming a staple in the way people communicate in modern culture. Some people get so excited about them, that they even name their child Hashtag (true story). So what’s the deal with this #hashtag business anyway, and why do people use them?

A hashtag is a word or phrase without spaces or punctuation that begins with a “#” and is added at the end of a Tweet or thought posted on social media. It is used as a marker for keywords or topics. Although hashtags are most commonly used on Twitter, they have made their way onto other social networking sites as well. For example,  Instagram recently started implementing the use of hashtags to categorize their user’s pictures. However, Facebook has yet to begin using them as a way to categorize posts. When you click on a hashtag on Twitter, you will be taken to a search of all of the different Tweets with the same label. By adding the same hashtag to your Tweet, you are essentially adding your Tweet into that particular “file”. The intention of these labels is to create global conversation around a particular topic (#greatidea).

For example, if your company just launched an amazing product, perhaps one like this bionic eye, and you wanted to start a global conversation about it on social media, you might create a hashtag such as “#bioniceye”. That way, anytime a person wanted to talk about, ask about, or comment about the product, they could simply add #bioniceye to the end of their Tweet and be added to the conversation “file” under the #bioniceye hashtag. They could also use the hashtag as a search term to see what other people are saying about the product.

Hashtags are a great way to categorize and organize different thoughts and posts on social media. When implemented properly, they can be a useful tool to invite conversation about a particular product or topic. (#Prettycool).


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