What is a Twitter hashtag?

If you have been using Twitter at all recently, you may well have noticed Tweets going out that may look something like #socent ….. but what on earth does that actually mean, and just what is the hashtag used for?Well they allow you to add a way of providing keywords and metadata to your Tweets.  In other words they help to specify exactly the particular subject or context of a Tweet.  This it means that they can be grouped in a search, so everything to do with a specific subject can be searched for and all the most recent Tweets will be displayed.  In the case above, #socent, is anything to do with ‘social enterprise’.

Whilst you can create your own hashtags, it’s probably better to do a little research first to find out if there are any commonly used ones already in the community.  You can find out more about the lists of tags used and what they mean at http://tagdef.com.  If you want to find out more about the hashtags you are using then why not register for a service such as http://www.hashtags.org/.

There are a couple of things you might want to consider before using them:

  1. you can track the subjects you are interested in by finding out the commonly used tags
  2. use them sparingly and appropriately – a tweet full of hashtags is just spam ….!

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