The Power of the Hashtag

“Enter your voicemail number and then press pound”, instructs the computerized voice inside your phone. Pound? What’s pound? While generations before us had no hesitation in figuring out what the word ‘pound’ was referring to, those of us living in the digital media age seem to have a more difficult time in doing so. Gone are the days when the ‘#’ symbol simply represented a number sign or a pound sign on the telephone. When presented with the pound sign, our social media-trained minds automatically associate it with the popular twitter facet, the hashtag.

A hashtag is any word or short phrase with the # symbol immediately before it. After constructing a tweet, people will hashtag one or two things at the end that basically summarize what the tweet is about. By “hashtagging” these words or phrases, they become links that allow followers to find and follow conversations about those specific topics.

Like many other things in the world, quality is much more important than quantity. It is extremely easy to misuse the hashtag, by choosing words that don’t necessarily match the content of the tweet, or by using awkward and lengthy phrases that will probably never be searched on twitter. Here are a few tips for maximizing your hashtagging potential:

  1. Be Concise. Hashtag with your audience in mind; choose hashtags that are short and easy to remember! Trying to incorporate too many words into one hashtag will make it confusing and can actually make it harder to find your tweet, rather than easier.  Think about it, would you ever search the hashtag
    “#thankfulformyfriendsandfamily”? It is displeasing to the eyes, and not many people would think to search that phrase. Hashtagging “#thankful” would be much more appropriate and accessible to your twitter audience.
  2. Be Consistent. When posting multiple tweets about the same topic, or having a conversation with someone, remember to include the same hashtags in your tweets! This is extremely important when having live twitter chats and important conversations, because without them it will be hard for active participants to follow the conversation.
  3. Be Creative. A little creativity goes a long way! While you want to make sure the hashtag remains relevant to the content of your tweet, this is also your chance to showcase your creativity. A unique hashtag will also help to narrow search results to your tweets, rather than having to scroll through tons of tweets that are not connected to yours but have the same generic words in their hashtags.

The hashtag has the power to enhance tweets and aid tweeters in their twitter searches.  I hope this has provided you insight on the secrets to a successful tweet, and I wish you all happy hashtagging! 

By: Christina Droppa

Christina is a freshman communication interest major with a minor in Spanish. She hopes to either double major in marketing or pick up a minor in advertising.  Along with PRSSA-UD, she is a member of the University of Delaware Cheerleading team. 

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