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Birds sharing and tweeting / Social media dialogYou know, those words littered all over social media with # in front. Confusing to some, unnecessary to others, but an integral part of communicating online these days. Hashtags are becoming the billboards of the internet.

Hashtags began on Twitter but are used almost universally. The hash in front of a keyword or phrase turns it into a SEARCHABLE concept, allowing you to easily organize your content and for your audience to find content and track discussion topics based on those keywords.  Click on a hashtag any time you see one and you should be able to see other mentions of that subject, in real time; Whether it be news e.g., #Cairo, your favorite TV show – say #NCIS, pop culture like #Madonna, or your hobby of choice such as #Beading.

How and when to use them? Hashtags started on Twitter, this is their etiquette;

  • If you Tweet with a hashtag on a public account, anyone who does a search for that hashtag may find your Tweet
  • Don’t #spam #with #hashtags. Don’t over-tag a single Tweet. (Best practices recommend using no more than 2 hashtags per Tweet.)
  • Use hashtags only on Tweets relevant to the topic.

How not to us them?  See this post from Mashable 8 Ways NOT to use hastags!.

D0 it – just don’t overdo it! J