The Importance of Hashtags in Social Media

Oct 11, 2013

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Why do we use hashtags in our social media conversations or even to the extreme of in our daily conversations with friends?

In August 2007, a year and half later after Twitter emerged into the social media scene, Chris Messina proposed the use of the hashtag. The first tweet with a hashtag that Messina sent out was “how do you feel about using # (pound) for groups. As in #barcamp?” It took sometime for Twitter users to get the hang of hashtags in their Twitter conversations but now it’s part of normal conversations in the social media world.

Hashtags in tweets are meaningful and findable, as conferences or speeches aren’t fully complete without a hashtag these days. In a study done by Twitter, 11 percent of tweets now contain hashtags, as a way for group conversations to be found on Twitter. The # symbol was designed to search for topics of conversation in social media. Use hashtags on your own social updates to allow for them to appear in searches and to connect with others interested in the same trending topic.

In social media, hashtags are used to start a conversation online and for trending topics to be followed. One example of how hashtags became a breakthrough on Twitter was during October 2007, Republicans were seeking to keep Congress in session to vote on an energy bill and started tweeting with the hashtag “#dontgo”. Using a simple hashtag can become a trending topic where news can become headline worthy across the globe.

Currently, in my communications class at BYU, we are using hashtags in our class conversations on Twitter. Social media has been slowly implemented in classrooms and have the potential to be in classrooms throughout the world for learning and engagement.

If you haven’t seen the #YouTube video by Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake on the Late Night with Jimmy Fallon using hashtag in their conversation, give yourself a laugh about hashtags.

How have you used hashtags in your social media conversations effectively?

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