Hashtags are everywhere on Twitter. The # symbol inserted before a word or phrase is used to categorise messages and mark groups or events. Facebook now its own hashtags and TV programmes even flash them up on screen as they start so viewers can talk about the programme on social media.
Using a hashtag is second-nature on Twitter today. A quick glance down my own Twitter feed this morning reveals fifteen different hashtags by various people and companies each wanting to highlight their own issue or what products and services they’re offering. Some accounts have multiple hashtags in use. Not bad when you’ve only got 140-characters to use!
The hashtag was “invented” in 2007 by Chris Messina, a designer working at Google who played a big part in the marketing of Firefox, when he sent this tweet: “how do you feel about using # (pound) for groups. As in #barcamp [msg]?” Since then, sending tweets like this has become commonplace. Journalists and news agencies started using them to report on events and emergencies to create a feed. Real-time reports are now a valued news-source and has been adapted for sporting events and music concerts to keep people informed.
It’s worth saying that there a few rules to observe when using hashtags though, so you don’t look like a spammer or turn people off your feed.
Firstly, don’t use more than two hashtags per post. Any more appears spammy.
Keep your hashtags short. The whole point of Twitter is instant, succinct messages so don’t let your hashtags take up too many letters or characters. Facebook, of course, has no limit to its message length but the principle is still the same. Long hashtags will just annoy people.
Give your tag a meaning. You can search tagdef.com or simply type in the hashtag you want to use in to the Twitter search bar to see what it means and how people use it.
Spaces in hashtags are a no no. They should be one continuous phrase as gaps will break the link.
So, now you know the history of the hashtag and how to use them properly, make sure you use the #chestertweets regularly. It’s the most useful hashtag on the internet