Twitter Tuesday: #hashtag #mania

July 18, 2012 - 02:05 | 8 replies

Come in number 0187123, your time is up! Sheep, Dingli, Malta

Hashtags are the way to label, sort of categorize, Tweets. They consist of one word (no gaps, apostrophes or other special characters) starting with the hash sign (#). You can search and track hashtags to keep up on Tweets over certain topics. And they are widely overused.

At first the hashtags were just something the Twitter users did. It wasn't any sort of a built-in feature of Twitter and back then only third party sites were offering any decent ways to follow and track them. Actually hashtags originate from IRC where they were used to label channels. Soon after they got a quite popular way to label and find Tweets, Twitter implemented hashtags into their system and now they can be rather easily be searched and tracked within the service.

So why do I think they are so often overused? It's #not very #easy to #read a #sentence where #every other #word is a #hashtag. They work best used moderately in the end of a Tweet. The misuse and overuse has rendered such useful hashtags as #FollowFriday (and it's acronym version #FF) plain useless noise.

Keep in mind the fact that you are trying to communicate with other human beings. Write full sentences if possible. Don't drown your message into hashtags. Use them only when really necessary and appropriate. Use only those tags that actually have some meaning for other Twitter users (not just any random words you want to emphasize).

Photo by John Haslam under Creative Commons license.

Suomeksi (In Finnish): 

Hashtagit, jotka koostuvat #-merkillä alkavasta yhdestä sanasta, ovat tapa nimiöidä eli eräällä tavalla kategorisoida viestejä Twitterissä. Niiden avulla voi seurata tiettyihin aiheisiin liittyviä viestejä. Ja osa porukasta käyttää niitä ihan liikaa. Ongelma on se, että on #todella hankalaa #lukea virkkeitä, joissa #suunnilleen joka #toinen sana on #hashtag. Muun muassa #FollowFriday (ja sen lyhempi versio #FF) on aika turha nykyään, sen ylikäytön ja väärinkäytön vuoksi. Pidä mielessä, että yrität kommunikoida ihmisten kanssa. Kirjoita kokonaisia virkkeitä, jos vain mahdollista. Älä hukuta viestiäsi hashtageihin. Käytä niitä vain kun käyttö on tosi tärkeää ja asianmukaista. Ja käytä vain niitä tageja, joilla on jokin merkitys myös muille Twitterin käyttäjille kuin vain sinulle.

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8 replies for "Twitter Tuesday: #hashtag #mania"

Comment »

Pingback from Of emotions and the Weekly Wrapup | tasselflower on July 23, 2012 - 15:52
Jacolien's picture

I absolutely agree. Some people just use way too many hashtags.
But I do like #FF cause it sometimes introduces me to other people/accounts I didn't know of.

Mervi's picture
Mervi on July 30, 2012 - 15:28 said:

Yes they do, Jacolien!

I used to like the idea of #FF, but then unfortunately many people started to misuse it. They are making these lists of people's handles (#FF @handle1 @handle2 @handle3 @handle4 etc) and they Tweet a bunch of these lists in a row. And they automate the lists, so they are not even real recommendations or anything. It's highly annoying.

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Hello, my name is Mervi!

Mervi EmiliaI’m The Goddess of The Net, The Queen of The Penguins, geek, cat person, dreamer, awesome, always right and quite boring. This is the tasselflower blog about web design, social media, life, marketing and business. Have some tea!

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