(Published in The College of Westchester’s Newsletter, January 2014) If you are a social media novice, hashtags – those short links preceded by the pound sign (#) – may seem confusing, unnecessary and distracting. But they are integral to the way we communicate online, and it is important to use them if we plan to expand our audience and attract new followers. In a more technological explanation, hashtags are a community-driven convention for adding additional context and metadata to your tweets. They’re like tags on Flickr, only added inline to your post. You create a hashtag simply by prefixing a word with a hash symbol: #hashtag.
Hashtags were developed as a means to create “groupings” on Twitter, without having to change the basic service. When you enter a hashtag, this word will now be a link that will take you to another listing of tweets. For example, instead of tweeting: “I’m happy to be part of the CW family” is better to enter “I’m happy to be part of the #CWFamily // #HigherEd #NewJob #Westchester”. This will expose your tweet not only to your current followers but also to those who are looking for content with the same hashtags. There is one very important thing to remember, sentences in Twitter are not traditional complete sentences that include a subject and predicate. A perfect sentence in Twitter is one that includes a complete thought, a link and at least one hashtag; everything in 140 characters or less.
It can be helpful to do a little research first to find out if the subject you’re tweeting already has an established hashtag. If your hashtag is among the most popular trends of the day, then you’ll be part of Twitter’s front page in the United States or probably worldwide!
For more information about popularity of hashtags visit: www.hashtags.org
Best hashtags in Higher Education: #HigherEd #HigherEducation #College