Monday, July 7, 2014

#hashtag:The Power of the Pound Sign

How good are you at the #hashtag game?

What's with all the pound signs? Whether you know what a hashtag is or not, they are not going anywhere.We see them on social media websites, text messages, signs, clothing, and people are even getting them tattooed on their bodies. They are the modern day symbol and they are convincing. In a recent study, 68% of college students reported using social media conversations to influence their enrollment decision. People of all ages are using them to search products, market their business, have a good laugh, make new friends and experience new things. According to Google, hashtag is defined as, "a word or phrase preceded by a hash or pound sign (#) and used to identify messages on a specific topic.

Look and see what this tic-tac-toe board is about...

#TrendingNow: The main reason anyone uses a hashtag is to be trendy, let's be honest. Here are the rules for writing a hashtag. Spaces between words or phrases are an absolute miss. Keep all the letters and words together. Grammar goes out the window here.  If you want to differentiate and make a point between the words, by all means captialize the first letter of the new word. Doing so, will not at all alter your hashtag search. Meaning, whether you type #HashtagsRule, or #HASHTAGSRULE, or #hashtagsrule, it will all post the same when you search for results. Numbers are allowed, punctuation rules are not. No exclamation points, commas, special characters. Again, grammar...out the window.  When you search for your posted hashtag or someone else's, you simply type in the word grouping with the pound sign in front and you're off! Do you want to know which hashtags are the most popular? Check out this website for the latest trending hashtags and track your own:

#KeepItInteresting: Since there are some pretty common hashtags floating around now (i.e. #tbt, #fashion, #food, #selfie, #cash, #business), you want to make sure your hashtag is somewhat unique to draw attention to it. A tweet or post with just hashtags is boring, make it creative. Always use some humor and voice.  Journalist Rebecca Hiscott shares these examples: 

  • Wearing socks with Crocs is so stylish #kidding.
  • The movie #Gravity is beautiful but so terrifying! #nevergoingtospace.

Be sure to give context, she adds. If you write #BreakingBad is #awesome, you really aren't taking the conversation anywhere.

#Twitter #Instagram #Facebook #Googleplus: all these commonly used media sites support hastags. Here is a quick summary of how they are used, by Mashable

#BoostYourBusiness: Toilet paper seems pretty boring, right? I mean, it's a neccesity for the majority of us, but no one is really excited about it. Wrong. Charmin has found a way to put some fun and life into their business. With their hashtag #tweetfromtheseat,  users are now generating and inventing 100s of tweets about Charmin from different social media platforms each day. 

If a toilet paper company can generate this amount of buzz you can too. If you don't have a hashtag strategy for the company own or work for, get on it! Invent one and be creative, you will be surprised and how quickly you will have a following. Find popular users on Twitter and Instagram to follow you and use your hashtags, encourage your friends, employees and clients to retweet or share your posts from your social media platforms. Here are five steps to making a big sale through social media. #goforit!

Now you can see inventing, searching, posting, and tweeting hastags are as easy as playing a game of tic-tac-toe.  
Just be mindful of where you put the X's and where you put the O's.

For those of you who still think hastags are annoying, you'll love this video:

Sources for more info:

1 comment:

  1. Just because hash tags are a sign of the times doesn't mean everyone should use them. I am an avid reader of The Wall Street Journal. I flip the paper from the front page to the editorial page. I don't usually read the Business section because General Motors' problems are taking up too much space. Anyways, you should read this article about hash tags from the Wall Street Journal ( I'll respond to the use of hash tags. Hash tags cannot do everything in the real world. In this case (spoiler alert coming), Michelle Obama used hash tag to bring back the girls who were kidnapped by Boko Haram. A picture of Michelle Obama holding up a paper with a hash tag that read "Bring Back Our Girls" isn't doing anything positive against Boko Haram. The girls are still in captivity (although approximately 60 girls have escaped). George Will said it perfect on "FOX News Sunday" (

    As an upcoming fourth-grade teacher at St. Pius V School (Archdiocese of Houston-Galveston), I expect my students to write grammatically correct at all times. Don't bring in the social media language into my classroom! Leave it at the door!

    Dr. Mandi Sonnenberg, I was once British (I do have a British passport but it's expired). I am now an American. I still value and treasure the best, but I am very cautious about how I behave when I'm around other people. I still have a Samsung Convoy 1 cellphone. I am proud of it because technology cannot replace or teach common traditional, business etiquette. Technology cannot teach someone effectively on how to be a good listener, a writer, or a thinker. As a teacher/student (parent coming soon sometime), I come to realize technology cannot replace traditional and fundamental values.

    Anyhow, I enjoy holding a copy of a newspaper everyday. I take time out to try to read everything. If I cannot read everything, I would skim at the headlines. Since traffic is so awful in Houston, I take the Houston METRO and I flip through pages after pages of newspaper. At times, I would read USA Today, Houston Chronicle, The New York Times (sometimes), and The Wall Street Journal. The Wall Street Journal has absolutely superb writing. I would agree with 90% of the editors in The Wall Street Journal, although I sometimes disagree with the politics in the Op-Ed page. But my favorite contributor is Peggy Noonan because she is compassionate and an excellent writer. It's not just the words that is appealing, but the emotions. She connects with her readers. Some might not agree with her point-of-view all the time but she disagrees passionately instead of "cross firing" with people. By the way, I cannot stand CNN's show Crossfire because there are way to much shouting between the hosts and the guests. That show just features a bunch of "adults" shouting at each other. I believe in civil debates. An example would be Special Report with Bret Baier. I enjoy listening to the All-Star panel talking politics. Charles Krauthammer, author of the Instant New York Times bestseller "Things That Matter," is sometime that I would listen to all the time. By the way, he used to be a liberal. Anyways, I don't necessarily agree with him all the time, but Krauthammer always comes with a reasonable argument.

    Anyways, back to The Wall Street Journal. I read the paper edition rather than the web edition. I am so thankful that The Wall Street Journal does not use hashtags because I feel it's so childish. I would love to write for the Wall Street Journal, but I don't have time. You should write a column for The Wall Street Journal and get your name out there. As a bonus, your face gets to be drawn by a professional artist.