Hashtags have spread like kudzu on the Internet. Once confined mostly to Twitter, they’ve moved onto Facebook, Google+, Instagram and other social media sites. People posting about a specific topic use a hashtag (#, aka pound sign) before a keyword or phrase so that others interested in reading about and/or commenting on the topic can search for it easily.
Want to see what folks on Twitter are saying about Project Runway? Type in #projectrunway and find out. To inject your own wit and wisdom into the conversation, simply include “#projectrunway” in your post.
Hashtags can also be useful as a marketing tool. You can find and join relevant conversations or start your own. Sell Halloween costumes? Post your two cents about #halloween.
Don’t be a #doofus It’s easy. Just follow these tips to avoid hashtag abuse
- DO search a hashtag before you use it. You might be unpleasantly surprised to see how others are using it.
- DON’T use more than one or two hashtags in a post. #This #looks #like #you #are #clueless.
- DON’T glom onto a trending hashtag simply because it is popular. Make sure you have something relevant to say.
- DON’T use hashtags as a punch line or to signify irony. They are intended for search.
Spoiler alert! If you’re a fan of Downton Abbey, and you live in the U.S., avoid all tweets from British people during the show’s U.K. run, which is months ahead of ours. Imagine the horror if you were to see #rip(yourfavoritedowntondenizen).
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