Social Media: Facebook Hashtags – What Are They and How to Use Them #HasthtagsBasics

Posted by on June 14, 2013 | Comments

Facebook just announced they were launching a new feature: the hashtag.  Hashtags can be very confusing if they have never been explained.  Here is a brief overview of hashtags and their use.

  • A hashtag is a word or a phrase prefixed with the symbol #.  It has been used on social networks such as Twitter for years. Hashtags provide a means of grouping messages that incorporate the hashtags, or keywords, and one can search for the hashtag and get the set of messages that contain it. 
  • So if one puts #imsc in a post, the “#imsc” becomes highlighted.  If one clicks on the #imsc, he will be redirected to a page that lists all of the posts containing #imsc in their words. 
  • It is useful in the sense that it allows social media users to follow conversations pertaining to one subject and to see what has been said about it, and by whom, recently.  The use of hashtag facilitates the grouping of posts by keywords, and helps when one is searching for posts related to one keyword, such as IMSC.
  • It is customary for hashtags to forego the rules of punctuation and capitalization: everything tagged behind a hashtag can be in lower case, but it will still tag if upper case is used. When creating a hashtag for something that may consist of two or more words however, it is a good idea to use the “CamelCase” format to maintain legibility. The idea is to join words with each word’s initial letter capitalized. (e.g. #ILoveTheIMSC)
  • Hashtags can be a single word or acronym (#imsc) or it can be a more complex sentence (#the2013AtlantaIMSCConferenceWasGreat).  All the words between the # sign and the first space thereafter are included in the hashtag.  So if one types #the imsc rocks, only the word “the” will be highlighted and included in the grouping of messages when one clicks on it.  In this case, one should either type “#theIMSCrocks” – the entire group of words will be highlighted, but chances are not many people will use this exact same phrase and therefore when clicked on, the link will not return many posts; or “the #imsc rocks” – in this instance, the highlighted word will be “imsc” and chances are that many posts will show up.
  • There is no designated place for a hashtag in a post.  It can be placed anywhere, in front of whichever word or group of word you want to highlight – at the beginning, middle, or end of your post.
  • The overuse of hashtags can lead to posts that are difficult to read.  Internet etiquette dictates that no more than two to three hashtags per post be used.

 

So in short, hashtags are just a quick way to highlight what you have to say.  It allows your post to be a pat of a broader discussion about a subject.  And it helps to search what others have said about a subject. 

Have fun and don’t forget to tag the #imsc!

 

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