Building Community with Twitter Hashtags
A hashtag is essentially a key word or phrase accompanied by the hash (pound) symbol. Bloggers, Twits, CEOs and regular folks use hashtags to make their tweets searchable for all of Twitter. For example, think of some keywords you’d like to search…how about “moms”, “blogging” or “latina”. You can enter these terms into the search bar at the top of your Twitter page and discover any tweets containing these keywords. Now, take that one step further. You want to find a specific group of tweets or individuals with interest invested into a topic, not just a randomly mentioned keyword.
This is where hashtags come in. Hashtags can help you to find established communities on Twitter and access the best possible content and tweets. Here’s how…start by searching online for keywords related to the topic you’d like to read or tweet about, and scan through these keywords for the most popular and relevant hashtags. For example…if you search the keywords “latina blogger” you will discover all kinds of hashtags like “#lasblogueras“, “#latism“, “#hispz“, “#belatino” and “#latinabloggers“.
Click on each hashtag to discover the range of it’s meaning….what community does it link you to? “#lasblogueras” for example, may connect you to more Spanish language blogs, while “#latinabloggers” may include more blogs written in English. If you click on “#latism” you will discover a community of Latinos and Latinas who share info about issues that affect Latinos and social media news updates. There are so many hashtags to discover and one good rule of thumb is that you use the most popular ones that are already out there, rather than making up your own tags for your tweets. The reason for this is that those popular hashtags already have a lot of followers and are searched often. This will bring your tweets into the view of more people who share your interests and help you find connections and allies on Twitter.
Do a few searches and pay attention to how these hashtags are used. Then start adding them to your own tweets. You’ll notice that there are entire communities connecting on Twitter via hashtags, following their friends, fellow bloggers and news trends.