I’m finally posting about one of the questions I get asked the most in my social media consulting assignments. “What the heck is a hashtag?”
*Please note that no technical words (whatsoever!) were used or even hurt in the construction of these explanations.
Talk Nerdy to Me.
How hashtags are made. (The G-Rated Stork Version)
The pound sign (#) on your keyboard mystically transforms into a hashtag when it’s placed in front of a word or phrase if it excludes spaces. Magically, with the help of the “life of the party” hashtag, the once ordinary khaki wearing word or phrase is now living its new super social life online as a searchable link. (Toga! Toga!)
How hashtags are made. (The Corporate Office Metaphor – Also G-Rated!)
My (potentially oversimplified) explanation to my clients is to imagine that a ginormous file cabinet exists in a massive global office (obligatory disclaimer: I’m not at liberty to either confirm nor deny the existence of said file cabinet – so don’t even ask.). Inserting a hashtag in front of a term organizes the post/article/photo into a large vertical file of information that shares that same name. Essentially, it’s as if the term or phrase were written on that infuriatingly small cardboard piece that you wrestle and finally dominate into submission to slide into the seemingly too small plastic thingy that labels the file.
Once you’ve used your hashtag in your post – you have successfully contributed to the overall topic. (Yay you!) Better still, the hashtag also operates like the top secret key that is taped a little too obviously to the side of the same file cabinet. Using a hashtag in front of a term on Google or specific social media platforms will allow you to open the labeled file and retrieve relevant info/posts/articles/photos on any topic that you are researching.
Your Multimedia Minute(s)
To demonstrate the sheer intensity of this topic, I am including this short video from two of my favorite Intertainers (which is how they spell “entertainer” in the clever clever land of the internet…). Watch as Rhett and Link begin begging, bargaining, and issuing a call to battle from their fans for exclusive rights to the hashtag #GMM.
Warning: This video is WAY more entertaining than ordinarily permitted by the micromanagers and entertainment police lurking in your home and office — so when you get busted for having fun, just remember to say that you were only watching this in an effort to thoroughly research the topic of hashtags to either promote your company or protect your family.
The More You Know… The More You Can #Hashtag
Should you desire the history, social media etiquette and specific uses of the hashtag in professional and personal circumstances, this is an outstanding article that delves even deeper into this clearly riveting topic: http://mashable.com/2013/10/08/what-is-hashtag/
Talk Amongst Yourselves…
How are you currently using hashtags when you post? Do you feel they are useful in a personal/professional sense or do they irritate you in an overuse of ‘LOL’ or emoticon sense?