21 May 2013 6 Comments
Anyone who has converted to Twitter, and uses it with regularity will know about the prevalent use of hashtags to ‘stream’ tweet content.
A hashtag, for the non-Twitterati, is a word or smashed-together phrase preceded by the hash symbol (#), originally devised as a way to keep track of the flow of subject matter in the Twittersphere. (Ben Zimmer, Visual Thesaurus)
I recently saw someone on Facebook cramming hashtags into their status update. I must admit to rolling my eyes and muttering acidly, “It’s not Twitter, doofus” (oh, yes, fear my acidity).
Yes, I know Facebook is trying to get in on the hashtag action, but – in the very average ways I use Fb – it is largely absent and still an anomaly. Those who frequent Yammer have often used hashtags, and I know of tragics who have brought the hashtagging habit to their emails.
For the most part, though, hashtags live on Twitter.
When I first started on Twitter, I thought hashtags were silly. Yeah, that’s me: broadminded and noble embracer of change.
What I failed to realise was that getting value out of hashtags, and getting to a stage where I’m using and following them deliberately, requires a commitment to the medium that I didn’t have as a newbie. At that stage, all I saw was a soup of symbols and run-together text.
Since that time, I have come to love hashtags. Love them with an unnatural, nerdy love.