Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Hashtagology 101

Hashtags are a marvelous tool. They bring reason and order to the chaotic worlds of twitter, instagram, and maybe even facebook.

If, people knew how to use them.

Like people who use the wrong their/there/they're, your/you're, and too/to/two, I used to find people who misuse hashtags silly. Now it annoys me.

First, let's go over the origin of the word:
Hash mark: the mysterious key on your phone that didn't have a common use until 2006. "#"
Tag: a way to identify an object (a luggage tag)
So, a hashtag is a way to identify a digital object using a hash mark.

No one cared until Twitter

Once you hashtag a tweet or photo, it is then categorized and can be searched, connecting people around the globe.

Let's do an example.
Just say you took a picture of your puppy licking chocolate off of your finger. After writing a witty caption (I guess not all dogs are are allergic to theobromine!), you add the hashtags. Hashtags should be keywords
Good hashtags:
Do you see what this does?
Now, if someone across the world wanted to look at pictures of puppies, they would type "puppies" in the search bar and voila they see your cute puppy! Or, if some sucker in biochemistry needs a picture for class (modern teaching method or laziness?), they will be pleasantly surprised by your little joke and your puppy will probably end up in their Powerpoint presentation.
Here are some examples of bad hashtags, or what I like to call bashtags
Because nobody would search for these tags. All you're doing is making the reader squint to figure out what you're trying to say.

If your bashtags hurt my head, I will hate you

Here's a good rule of thumb: if your hashtag is actually a sentence, it should go in the caption

Let's practice: Think of some good hashtags
#kitties #cats #wedding #bride #groom 
There are MANY more. In fact, hashtagging is really a science, but I'll go into that in a later post.

Here are some bashtags

Do you see the difference?

Upcoming: Hashtagology 102...more ways to use a hashtag

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