The Twitter Hashtag: What Is It and How Do You Use It?

by Elizabeth on November 12, 2013

This post was originally published in February 2009. It has been updated to reflect some changes to how hashtags work, answer some related questions I've received over the years, and update some cultural references. Apparently, LOST isn't a trending topic anymore... :)

Once you've started using Twitter, it won't take long before you come across what's known as a hashtag. That's when you see something in a tweet that has a # prefix. (The # is a hash symbol, hence the term hash tag or, more commonly now, hashtag.)

For example, if you've seen tweets related to the recent typhoon that has devastated the Philippines, you may have noticed some of them had #Haiyan in them.

When I first saw them, it took me a while to wrap my head around what the purpose of this thing was. But, once I "got it," I realized it's not as complicated as it seems.
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by Elizabeth on September 26, 2013

I've written in the past about how my all-time most popular blog post is The Twitter Hashtag: What Is It and How Do You Use It?

So I'm used to seeing that post dominate my Google Analytics reports. But I was still surprised when I saw that the post had garnered more than 2,600 unique page views, about four times the normal traffic! I did some digging around in the stats to see if I could find a hint about what had caused this huge jump but couldn't find anything obvious (most of my visits come from Google searches). But then I saw a lot of people were sharing the video below on Facebook yesterday, and I think it has to be related.

Enjoy (and thanks for the bump, JF and JT!)
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Monthly Round-Up: August 2013

by Elizabeth on September 1, 2013

I started this new feature last month and said I would publish it on the last day of the month. But then it occurred to me that if something big were to happen on the last day itself, it might get missed in the round-up. So I'm moving it to the first day of the next month.

Of course, that didn't actually happen in August. In fact, there were very few posts in total for a few reasons, many of which could fall under the umbrella "life happens." :) But the main reason is that I'm actually working on making some bigger changes to Tech for Luddites that I will be announcing shortly and they took time away from some of my daily blogging activities. Having said that, here's what I do have for round-up material.
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Monthly Round-Up: July 2013

by Elizabeth on July 31, 2013

I'm starting a new feature on T4L where on the last day of the month I'm going to highlight various posts from the past month that were notable for one reason or another as well as share reader comments that have come in (and anything else I think might be noteworthy). Because I just thought of this idea this week :) and in June I was posting once a day as part of the WordCount blogathon whereas I was on vacation for part of July, today's round-up will cover the last two months.
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Two Twitter Tweaks

by Elizabeth on June 19, 2013

In January 2009, I wrote my first Twitter-related post called Are You A Twit If You Don't Tweet? and I followed it up a year later with the cleverly titled NOW Are You Still a Twit If You Don't Tweet?. My answer both times was No. While it's always a good idea to keep up with new technologies, I really didn't think there was any great need to be on Twitter.

It's now three and a half years later and now I'm in the position of hoping that answer still holds, because I rarely use it at all!
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by Elizabeth on June 16, 2013

I started this blog in January 2009 and was a fairly prolific poster back in those days, writing on a wide variety of topics from tips on managing multiple passwords to understanding text message acronyms to stopping Word from changing your formatting. But as with most new blogs, I wasn't getting all that much traffic early on.

So on February 18, 2009, as I began writing my 25th entry, The Twitter Hash Tag: What Is It and How Do You Use It?, I had no idea that I was writing what would become the single most popular post—by far—on this blog.

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One year ago today, I wrote my very first post about Twitter. At the time, I said that, despite the ever-building buzz, I had my doubts about how important it really was to be on it. I listed five specific factors that made me question its value. Today I'm going to revisit each of those to see what has and hasn't changed—for Twitter and for me.
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T4L Is Getting Socialer

by Elizabeth on January 7, 2010

After starting Tech for Luddites last year, I created both a Twitter account and a Facebook page for it, which have provided other options for readers to keep up to date with my blog posts.
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T4L Redux: The Twitter Hash Tag

by Elizabeth on December 23, 2009

The hash tag (#) is not an official Twitter feature, but it has certainly become a standard element of tweeting. However, the concept can be a little hard to wrap your head around, and some people experience problems getting them to work right, so here are some posts I wrote about it during the year that I hope will help answer any questions you may have about it.

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Twitter Lists (note to self: Do not call them Twists... do NOT call them Twists...) were implemented a little while back, so I figured it's about time I try my hand at explaining them! At the most basic level, they're the same idea as friend lists in Facebook or groups in TweetDeck. They're a way to create groupings of people you follow based on whatever criteria you want. For example, you could have one for family members, another one for the funniest people you follow, another one for travel-related Twitterers, etc. Unfortunately, as with many Twittery things, it's a bit of a challenge to figure out how you actually use them.

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