The “hashtag” is an important tool on Twitter, and potentially, other social media. The symbol used in a”hashtag” is also known under other names such as: number sign, pound sign, hash mark, sharp symbol (if you are musical) or simply “that little tactacttoe thingy.” To be clear, we are talking about this: #
According to Twitter Fan Wiki Hashtags are “a community-driven convention for adding additional context and metadata to your tweets. They’re like tags on Flickr, only added inline to your post.”
If that is not helpful, Search Engine Journal states it this way, “A hashtag is a way to unite global Tweets around some particular topic. Basically, these are tags that that help those who seek similar content discover your Tweets.”
In plain English…you can put a “#” at the beginning of a word in your tweet to let others know what your tweet is about. You can do a search on any word on Twitter by using the “Search” function, but you will get a lot of results which are not useful. For example, if you want to tweet about “Lost” the TV show, the Twitter community has decided that “#lost” is the way to indicate the TV show. People who want to see what has been tweeted about the TV show can do a search on “#lost” and see the latest stream of tweets on the show. If there were no hashtags and you did a search on “lost” you would see every tweet about “I lost a bet” or “I lost my dog” or “I lost my temper” and it would be nearly impossible to find the tweets about the TV show.
This next bit is confusing unless you are familiar with hashtags, LinkedIn, and Twitter. With LinkedIn, you can use a hashtag in your “Network Updates.” However, this does not help you index topics on LinkedIn. Hashtags used in LinkedIn are used to index content in Twitter. You can not access other Network Updates within LinkedIn by searching on a hashtag. It looks like you can at first, but really, the “Company Buzz” section is simply a listing of content from Twitter.
For the job seeker, you can hashtag words such as #job or #software or #marketing when you are tweeting about interviewing for or looking for a particular job. This helps recruiters who scan Twitter for prospective candidates to find people of interest. Additionally, if one of your target companies uses Twitter, see if they have a hashtag defined for their company. For example, social media giant BazaarVoice uses the hashtag #bazaarvoice. Any time I tweet about BazaarVoice, I use their hashtag. I want them to know I am talking about them.
And finally, lest you think that hashtags are set in stone somewhere…they are not. Do not become frustrated if you use a hashtag to find something on Twitter today and next week find that the hashtag indexes a bunch of different stuff. Hashtags can be registered, but no one polices them to make sure everyone is using them correctly. My marketing job hunter group registered #MAGC for “Marketing, Advertising, Graphics, and Communication” but we found that the Metal Arts Guild of Canada and the Minnesota Association of Government Communicators also call themselves “MAGC.” Occasionally, I see #MAGC show up on tweets that have nothing to do with my marketing group. The only way to preserve a hashtag for your intended purpose is to use it a lot. Make is so it is not useful in finding other topics that might wish to be indexed by that hashtag.
OK, that is more than you wanted to know…
Global Business Development and Social Media Marketing