Vicki from Decatur, AL asked:
I know this may be a stupid question but what is a hashtag?
We went over the basics of hashtags, so if you aren’t familiar with them, click here to check it out.
In part 2, we’ll look at some of the ways people use hashtags.
One hashtag you’ll see frequently on social media is #TBT or #ThrowBackThursday. On Thursdays, a lot of people choose to post older photographs, the older the better, with that hashtag. Here I am heading out to a party with my husband in 1989.
Another popular tag is #MCM or ManCrushMonday. Hashtags often end up getting abbreviated since there are a limited number of characters on services like Twitter.
You will also often see TV show displaying hashtags at the bottom of the screen encouraging viewers to talk about the show on social media using the hashtag for the show or sometimes a specific phrase.
Hashtags can be important to television shows because they can show popularity in a way that TV ratings may miss. Advertisers watch closely which programs generate the most social media buzz and choosing a single hashtag for a program makes the numbers easier to follow. Hashtags enable viewers to discuss programs and sporting events with fellow fans all over the world while the show is happening and many viewers look forward to these little Twitter parties.
A favorite author of mine recently held a Twitter event were fans could use a particular hashtag to attend a virtual party where she interacted with fans as if she were the main character in her books.
Hashtags can be used for more than just fun. They are also popular for sharing opinions and information on news events. You might hashtag #StateOfTheUnion or in the case of a disaster of some kind, you might see a hashtag like #napaquake with images of the disaster along with news and warnings from safety officials. You’ll notice now that most news outlets will choose a hashtag for a major event and use if for every post about that event. Tapping or clicking that hashtag is a good way to see the latest updates.
When a family member got married this fall, they asked guests at the wedding to use a specific hashtag on all of the photos that were taken and posted, that way they could easily find all of the photos of their happy day. I belong to an Instagram group that uses a specific hashtag that lets other members find our photos easily. I wrote an article previously describing how we used hashtags to meet up and share photos online.
If you’d like to add hashtags to your social media posts, remember that you always start with the # sign. There are no spaces or punctuation in a hashtag. Capitalization doesn’t count for hashtags, but don’t hashtag in all caps, it look like you are yelling. Capitalizing the first letter of every word in a multi–word hashtag can make it easier to read.
Hashtags have become commonplace fairly quickly. In fact you’ll sometimes hear someone say something like, “I had to spend $400 to fix my brakes. Hashtag broke.” To describe their situations or feelings about something.
I hope this helps you understand hashtags a little better.