Technique of the Week 004 – The hashtag

Technique of the Week 004 – The Hashtag

What is a hashtag? (#)

“If you’re a social media novice, hashtags — those short links preceded by the pound sign (#) — may seem confusing and unnecessary. But they are integral to the way we communicate online, and it’s important to know how to use them (even though some people, like Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake, are not the biggest fans). Plus, they can be a lot of fun.” Mashable – What is a hashtag?

“A hashtag is a word or an unspaced phrase prefixed with the hashtag symbol (#). It is a form of metadata tag. Words in messages on microblogging and social networking services such as FacebookGoogle PlusInstagramTwitter etc. may be tagged by putting “#” before them,[3] either as they appear in a sentence, (e.g., “New artists announced for #SXSW 2013 Music Festival!”)[4] or appended to it.

Hashtags make it possible to group such messages, since one can search for the hashtag and get the set of messages that contain it. A hashtag is only connected to a specific medium and can therefore not be linked and connected to pictures or messages from different platforms.” – Wikipedia

What do I use it for?

You can use a hashtag to find information about an issue you are involved in.  And you can use it to take part in an issue you are involved in.  So you can also use it to encourage people to talk to you about an issue you are seeking views and opinions on.  For example #<name of hospital> or #<title of a consultation>.  It really is as simple as that.

Where can I use it? 

Not just on Twitter. Facebook, Instagram, Google+, Tumblr, Pinterest and Vine all integrate hashtags.  

How do people know about the hashtag I am using? 

You need to tell people about it so include it in any promotional material.  People will find it if you use it in your social posts. There are tools to help people find them too. And will help you find NHS hashtags.

Here’s a map of popular hashtags right now

How do I know which one to use? 

You should research your hashtag before you use it. Just type it into Twitter and see what comes up.  You don’t want to gatecrash someone else’s hashtag party.

Are there anythings I should not do? 

Don’t make it too long #noroomleftbecausethehashtaghastakennearlyallmyallowedcharacters. You should’t include spaces but you can use numbers. Just Google ‘hashtag fails.’

Where can I find out more?

Here’s a handy guide