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“What does it mean when someone puts a pound symbol before something they type,” one of my “older” friends (who I won’t name to save her from embarrassment)asked me. “That’s a hashtag, you dinosaur,” I responded with the utmost sensitivity.
If you’ve ever read my Blue Corona bio (which you probably haven’t because I’m not as famous as I’d like to think), you’d know that one of my biggest pet peeves is #people #who #don’t #understand #twitter #hashtags. Additionally, you’d also know that my team picture is the only picture that gets sunglasses when you hover. But that’s not the point. Back to hashtags.
What Is a Hashtag?
Unofficially, the hashtag is that little symbol that people use on social media sites that looks like a waffle if you’re drunk enough, hungry enough, or both—a deadly combination.
Officially, the hashtag originated on Twitter to mark keywords or topics and help categorize tweets. According to Twitter, people use the hashtag symbol # before a relevant keyword or phrase (no spaces) in their Tweet to categorize those Tweets and help them show more easily in Twitter Search. Clicking on a hashtagged word in any message shows you all other Tweets marked with that keyword.
Since then, the hashtag has spread to other social media platforms and even into every day conversation. Yes, I’m sad to report that I’ve heard people say “hashtag this” and “hashtag that” in conversation. In addition, Mariah Carey recently came out with a song called “#Beautiful,” and one woman even made news last November when she named her newborn baby girl after the symbol:
Say what you want about the name, but that child will almost certainly be trendy.
Facebook Introduces Hashtags
Just last month, Facebook decided to join the hashtag party and introduce clickable hashtags onto its social media platform. Prior to this, some Facebook users had been using unclickable hashtags and upsetting their anti-Twitter Facebook friends. (There’s even a group on Facebook called “This is not Twitter. Hashtags don’t work here.” with 14,844 likes.)
The Facebook hashtag is pretty big news for a lot of our clients, who rely on their Facebook presence to get more leads and sales from the Web. (Read about the other perks of having a social media presence for your company in our other social media marketing blog posts.) By taking advantage of trending Facebook hashtags, you can help get exposure to your brand outside of your network without having to pay for promoted posts.
That’s the good news about Facebook adding hashtags. The bad news is, we’re most definitely going to see more and more people using them incorrectly. So as part of Casual Fridays at Blue Corona, I had some of our staff compile some truly terrible examples of poor hashtagging across the Web.
Why Would You Hashtag That?
When you’ve dated the most popular man on Twitter, you should probably learn how to hashtag correctly.
How many ways can you say “lol”? At least 23 ways.
I’m still getting the hang of Instagram, but I think this girl should get extra points for managing to combine “funeral,” “zebra,” and “bling” in the same post.
Tweeter beware: even innocent hashtags can sometimes backfire.
I just typed this entire sentence with my nose. Admittedly, it’s not the weirdest thing my coworkers have seen me do at my desk.
What’s the best/worst use of a hashtag you’ve ever seen? Follow us on Twitter and share them with us!
About The Author: Blue Corona is a data-driven online marketing company with offices in Gaithersburg, MD and Charlotte, N.C.
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