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How to Use Twitter Hashtags
If you’re new to Twitter you may not know what a hashtag is, so I will very briefly explain it in the simplest terms: It’s a tag that will automatically funnel your tweet into a very long list of other tweets from other Tweeps who have tagged their particular tweet with the same tag. The tag is a specific word or phrase, preceded by the # symbol. Ok, reading that back I realize that might not be as simple as I intended it, but that’s probably as simple as I can make it. I’ll give you some examples to illustrate the point. (By the way, if you'd like to Follow Me on Twitter, be sure to send me an @ reply so I know to follow you back!)
As I write this, today happens to be Monday. If I wanted to attract some new tweeps who were musically inclined in some respect (even if that respect is only limited to liking music of all kinds) I could tweet something music related, use the musicmonday hashtag, and instantly have my tweet read by loads of people who probably have no idea who I am. This increases my visibility greatly and will likely increase my “followers” list each time I use it. Let me give you an example of a tweet using this hashtag. Note that the quotation marks are not necessary. “The bestest song in the history of mankind was Michael Jackson’s Thriller. #musicmonday” And that’s an example of a short 140 character tweet that your followers will see – along with all the people reading the #musicmonday hashtag feed.
Follow Friday is another very popular hashtag on Twitter. It’s meant to encourage tweeps to meet and follow new tweeps recommended by their friends, followers, etc. Many people will find new tweeps in exactly this way and it’s often appreciated when someone recommends another person to follow. Here’s an example of a tweet using this hashtag. “#followfriday recommendations: @jane @john @you @me” Short and sweet, eh? Well, you can make it longer if you want. The important thing is that you include the names of the people you want to recommend and include the followfriday hashtag. This way, everyone reading the followfriday feed will be able to see loads of new tweeps they may want to follow. It works quite nicely.
The two previously mentioned tags are very popular and very common and always make it the trending topics list on Twitter’s mainpage. But you can create any hashtag you like and share it with a specific group of people. If enough people become interested in the topic and start sharing it, that hashtag may also become a trending topic, but whether it does or it doesn’t, the feed will always be accessible. For example, you will often find hashtags for sporting events, big news stories, etc. When Michael Jackson died, there were so many tweets about it, using so many varied hashtags, that his story actually took up nearly all of the trending topics list on Twitter’s main page. Point being, you can make any hashtag you want, use it whenever you want, and meet all sorts of people who share the same interests by viewing that particular hashtag’s feed.