What is a hashtag?
It was back in the winter of 2009. I was a relative rookie on Twitter, weren’t we all, and snow was falling across the UK.
My twitter page suddenly filled up with people adding what looked like a code onto their messages. It read;
The “#” prefix is called the hash (mark) and in Twitter messages it is immediately followed, without a space, by topic or issue you are looking to tag, or to flag up. Together, you have a code called a “Hashtag”
When you hashtag something you make it easy for Twitter users and other search engines to pick out relevent content.
Earlier this year, the #uksnow hashtag became part of the newspapers’ and traditional media’s new fixation with this Twittering cult. It became possible to search for all tweets from anyone who had used the code, or hashtag, to flag up their UK snow stories. The press loved it and it thrust a very useful Twitter function into the awareness of many casual Twitter users.
People use hashtags for various reasons. In my post on Twitterwall and Backchannels it is only possible to run these facilities because of the hashtag. Everyone who wanted to contribute to the backchannel would insert the code #dellb2b into their relevant comments (which stood for Dell, who were hosting the event, and B2B, referred to the Business to Business title of the event)
The reason that I am writing this post today is to help new followers learn about this thing called the hashtag. Why today? Because snow has returned to the UK. As I write I can track the progress of snow from London, heading West to me in Bath. When I last checked, it had reached Reading…
For many new users this will be the first time they have noticed the hashtag. I hope you will find it helpful.
Click on this link to see for yourself what people are saying about #uksnow
Click here to see a UK map showing where snow is being reported using the hashtag.
You can set up your own hashtag searches. Other famous ones include #trafigura , #janmoir was a particularly memorable outcry. I’m guessing, but really cannot be bothered to look that #tigerwoods is also fairly busy still. You can go to your Twitter home page, insert the relevant hastag into a search engine and see what comes up…