A hashtag is a type of label or metadata tag used on social network and microblogging services which makes it easier for users to find messages with a specific theme or content. Users create and use hashtag by placing a hash (#) in front of a word or a phrase without the spaces.
I wasn’t a big fan of hashtags because I didn’t know its functionality. I used to think hashtag is just to make a font bold but I was so wrong. I first learned about the true usage of hashtags in one of my units (while pursuing my Masters @QUT), “Information programs”, we had to tweet a lot using some thematic hashtags and use in our Twitter chats which happened alternate weeks.
Using hashtags on social media is quite popular today but I still find some of my friends on Facebook who do not have much idea. For instance, I see hashtags like
Surly tags like this does not make much sense but it works the same. For newbies, The Beginner’s Guide to the Hashtag is a good place to start. Hashtags allows you to organize content and track discussion topics based on the keywords. For example, if you want to join the discussion on Twitter about the US election, you may tweet with the hashtag #USElection or #uselection. Both will yield the same result since tags are not case sensitive. Similarly, you can also search a discussion of your interest by typing the tag into the search area on social media.
Hashtags do not support any special characters or spaces except the underscore sign (_).
#US election -> only US is hashed
#US_election -> both words are hashed
Numbers are also supported by hashtags. Further, the symbol @ differs from #. Using @ before a person or institution’s twitter handle will tweet to him/her directly whereas # will list it as a topic of discussion. Most social media platforms support the usage of hashtags such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google+, Pinterest etc. Also, one may use several hashtags in a tweet, a whole tweet can be made up of hashtags but Rebecca Hiscott advises not going overboard with using too many hashtags in one tweet.
Rebecca Hiscott says the best practices of using hashtags are 1) be specific 2) keep it simple – max 3 hashtags in one tweet/post 3) Give context.