Tales of our journey
through the digital
If you’re one of the millions who’ve taken to using Twitter — that curiously named microblogging service that allows you to share your thoughts with the world in real time, 140 characters at a time — you’ve probably noticed some words popping up from time to time inside the messages with a pound sign (#) preceding them: #likethis.
Wondering what these odd insertions mean? On Twitter, and any other real-time service that supports them, they’re known as “hashtags.” Using them allows you to identify the content in your Twitter messages, or “tweets,” as belonging to a certain category. This makes it easier for others to find these messages using services, such as Twitter Search, that search or sort the content.
Let’s say, for example, you wanted to see all the messages on Twitter by people talking about last night’s Oscars. Simply visit Twitter Search and use the hashtag #oscars. And if you want to talk about the Oscars and be found, you’d use this tag in your tweets, too, like this: “Reading a bunch of reviews about #oscars on bbc.co.uk.”
Hashtags are also frequently used by attendees at conferences and events who are live-blogging about the event, or a particular speaker, so others can more easily find their messages. #cjth, for example, was a Chicago Journalism Town Hall.
And some, like #fail, are just used for fun!
Not only are hashtags a useful way to sort content, but they can provide a glimpse into trending topics of converstion as well. Hashtags.org keeps a running list of the most popular tags by usage, while also providing examples of tweets including each one. You can also sort the list by Newest, Recent and Popular.
- What hashtags are you using?
- How have they helped you find content?
(And you can follow me us Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/innateagency )