Previously, we’ve discussed how to use Hashtags on Twitter and Facebook. This might still be a difficult concept for many to grasp. To make things easier for us who learn visually, Mashable posted a very informative infographic that leads you through the process.
Start out at the top, and follow the arrows (based on your hashtag goal). Throughout the process, you are asked to ponder a bunch of different questions that will lead you to the best result. The flow-chart will even help you figure out if your Tweet or Status Update would benefit from a hashtag at all.
Recently, NPR’s Scott Simon used his twitter account (@nprscottsimon) to dispatch 140 character reports from the ICU as his mother lay in intensive care. Although this event may seem largely personal to many, the online response was overwhelmingly positive. Some of Simon’s colleagues, like NPR Beijing correspondent Louisa Lim (@LimLouisa) heralded the moment as “shocking & desperately moving at the same time. He is humanising death.”
I love holding my mother’s hand. Haven’t held it like this since I was 9. Why did I stop? I thought it unmanly? What crap.
— Scott Simon (@nprscottsimon) July 29, 2013
The Washington Post published an article about these Simon’s tweets. The article points out that Simon is a “a semi-famous person, whose career has been built on inviting listeners into his life.” His twitter feed reflects that persona. He tweets about everything from Ryan Braun and Siri to cooking and current events.
The tweets, although heartbreaking at times, bring up a important question about the ways one can use twitter.
Everyone might not be comfortable with live-tweeting these extremely personal events. But live-tweeting is always a good option when you are attending a conference, symposium, or other professional event.
Be mindful of the event’s hashtags or create your own. If you do create a hashtag, make sure that it is easily to find. Try to stay away from rarely used acronyms or expert-speak. Doing this will allow your stream of consciousness tweets will be accessible to all interested in the event or subject area.
+ + +
Readers, what do you think? Is “Live-tweeting” something you think can offer meaningful insight or is just another example of “social network over-share”?
On June 12th, Facebook announced the integration of hashtags into their site.
Here’s an excerpt from the announcement:
“Starting today, hashtags will be clickable on Facebook. Similar to other services like Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, or Pinterest, hashtags on Facebook allow you to add context to a post or indicate that it is part of a larger discussion. When you click on a hashtag in Facebook, you’ll see a feed of what other people and Pages are saying about that event or topic.”
Like with mostly everything on Facebook , you will be able to control the audience that is able to see this the individual post. This feature is not available for individual tweets on Twitter (But you can make your entire account “protected” so that only your followers can see your tweets).
Here are some related links for further reading:
You can technically hash anything, from singular words to longer phrases. But the purpose of Hashtags is to contribute to Twitter’s community and conversation. Meaning, it is not considered best practice to just Hashtag random words; instead you should think bigger.
For example, if you are attending the Book Expo of America, you can add #BEA13 at the end of your conference Tweets. This will pool your Tweet with other Tweets with the same Hashtag (as long as your account is public). In fact, many conventions feature scrolling Twitter feeds that pull out all tweets related to their event. You can see what other people are saying and what talks they are attending. This is even a way to find liked minded colleagues and gather more followers.
From television shows to celebrities, Hashtags can achieve many goals. Many famous people use hashtags to conduct Q&A sessions with their followers. Justin Timberlake did one recently where he asked his fans to tweet #askJT.
Some television shows will display Hashtags at the bottom of the screen. The intention is for viewers to use these specific phrases to express their thoughts on the program. The Soup, a saterical reality-TV news show on E!, is well-known for using parody Hashtags throughout their broadcast.
Other times a Hashtag is utilized to send updates on developing stories. Most recently, Boston Police used Twitter to inform the public of developments in Boston Bombing investigation and eventual manhunt. #BostonMarathon started as a Hashtag to share moments from the joyous marathon and ended as a Hashtag to share horrific scenes from this tragedy.
Here are some important things to keep in mind:
- Try clicking on trending Hashtags and scroll through these feeds. You will get an idea of how others use Hashtags.
- Control the length of your Hashtags (Use the KISS method – Keep it simple, Stupid)
- Look at trending Hashtags for some examples of best practices
- Experiment a little! Don’t be afraid!
- Visit Twitter’s Help Center for more information on Hashtags and other trending information
- Twitter also has a great Best Practices site within their development blog
Here are some articles for further reading on Hashtags and their usage:
- Welcome to the all-knowing, very searchable, saturated world of Hashtags, by DigitalTrends.com
- WikiHow’s “How to Use Hashtags”
- Advice on what to do and what not to do by the Chicago Tribune