What Are Hashtags? How To Use Hashtags

The Optical Journal - Optical News With Independent Views

What the heck are hashtags and how and why should you use them? Are they leftovers from your college drug days? Perhaps a Hungarian meal time almost forgot? Something left over from a college food fight?

A hashtag is geek speak for the pound symbol…. #. What does it do and why are you spending time reading about it? Well, a hashtag is Twitter speak for a keyword or term. If for example you wanted to search Twitter for the term sunglasses, you would find every post that had the word sunglasses in it, in what context the person posting meant. “I forgot my sunglasses at your house”. “I just listened to Sunglasses at Night by Corey Hart”. “Reptile has the coolest new sunglass out”. One of those three “tweets” has valuable content that you might be potentially interested in. Had the tweet used a hashtags, “#Reptile has the coolest new #sunglass out”, you and everyone else interested in both Reptile and sunglasses would be able to index, aggregate and read pertinent posts easily.

This tagging of tweets makes search results much more targeted, because the authors of tagged tweets are taking the time to be included in searches. The Vision Council as an example does a great job or reminding exhibitors and attendees at Vision Expo to post #VisionExpo in their tweets so anyone and everyone could easily search for what was going on. Without the hashtag, a search for what was happening in Vegas might very well have only stayed in Vegas. In actuality, with the hashtag, users can search and read everything everyone who participated was posting about #VisionExpo in real time and not have their search cluttered with posts that just happened to mention anything else about vision or expo. Everyone attending Vision Expo were able to follow tweets about Vision Expo without following all the people attending.

Those of you on Facebook know how you suggest friends follow your business or other businesses. Well, Twitter has a similar function users have started called #followfriday or #ff. Every Friday, people suggest other Twitter users they think are worthy of a follow. Here is mine for the week #ff optigirls.

A few other shortcuts for Twitter to keep in mind:

  • @”username”  directs a tweet at another person
  • D “username” directs a private message to a person
  • #TGIF: Thanks Good Is Friday. This is used to say anything on Friday
  • #JOBS: If you are hiring or looking for a job.
  • Get “username” retrieves the latest tweet by a person
  • WHOIS “username” retrieves profile info about any public user
  • INVITE “phone number” sends an SMS invitation to someone’s mobile phone

Daniel Feldman, is CEO of dba Communications, a web design and marketing firm specializing in eye care practices. For more information visit the dba Communications website at www.dbadesigns.com.