A #hashtag is a word, saying or grouping of words/letters to identify a specific topic, event or chat on Twitter. It’s identified with the # symbol followed by the word or identifying text. I often use the # symbol in front of random words just to emphasize points, sarcasm or for fun, but hashtags can have real use.
When searching a hashtag or setting up a column in Tweetdeck or Hootsuite to monitor a hashtag, it allows you to follow a very specific conversation.
If you are in a group (writing group, blogging group, business group etc) you can set up your own group hashtag to continue conversations at any time. Anyone can make a hashtag for people to follow.
If you follow specific Twitter Chats (often designated at a set time) you can join in the conversation instantly and learn from or talk to many other people that you may not usually have a chance to engage with. Read this excellent post on surviving Twitter Chats.
I have found that following certain hashtags makes me more organized and allows me to filter tweets better. For example, I can check the #socapott (Social Capital Conference hashtag) to see who is chatting about the event, asking questions and more.
New moms (and those who simply are not getting sleep) can follow the #zombiemoms hashtag at any time of day or night and connect with others who are looking for support with babies and children.
I’ve also discovered some tags that I really can learn from. I love following the #savvyblogging and #blogchat hashtags for insightful looks into blogging, the business of blogging and best practices.
I still use hashtags for fun or to emphasize a point, but the application of being able to sort tweets to a very specific topic is extremely beneficial. The more you search for topics that you are interested in, the more you will come across relevant information and new people.
Are there any specific hashtags you follow?