#hashtag is a convention on Twitter that answers the following question:“What is going on?“. However, as Twitter grows, the use of hashtags have increasingly diversified.
- Event. Initially, tweeters used #hashtags to report what was going on at an event. Right now, you can follow updates from the Drupal conference via #drupalcon or the football match between Chelsea and Coventry. This initial use has largely contributed to Twitter success when it’s become mainstream. The terrorist attack in #mumbai and the #obama election are two of the most notable examples. In Vietnam, we have been using #barcampsaigon, #barcamphanoi, #h3, #twithanoi and #hcmctweet for our own events
- Phenomenon. Recently it has been used to indicate phenomena such as the #phish -ing attacks on twitter and the surge of #spammers who either create a number of accounts then follow people crazily or create a similar account to a Twitter celebrity, such as @jowyang
- Products & Services. More and more tweeters are using hashtags to talk about products (#dell. #iphone) or services (#plurk, #fb, #youtube). In fact, this’s become a vital way for businesses to monitor what people are talking about them, or theirs.
- Ritual. One of the most interesting #hashtags I’ve found of late is #followfriday. The focal idea behind this hashtag is that you will recommend someone you’ve already known to your network (other followers). This is extremely helpful to newcomers as you should figure out by now that your answer to “What are you doing?” at the beginning of your adventure into Twitter was this: “I don’t know what I’m doing!” By recommending who to follow, you add credibility to that person, which is much better than services like Mr.Tweet that automatically recommends you who to follow. Next Friday, let’s start #followfriday here!
- Clan. We started #chemgio a week ago after a discussion at #hcmctweet. #chemgio is about tweets that are casual chit-chats (have you turned your Twitter into an IM?), and it literally means “bluffing” in English. It’s a local slang to indicate people who have no expertise but talk about things as if they did. Since then, a lot of people have hashtagged their tweets with #chemgio and it has seemingly turned this particular group of people into a Clan. Then #chemgio can be likened to a unique tattoo of a criminal gang, agree?
Of course, there are innumerable ways to use #hashtag, but the benefit is people can follow what’s being talked about much easier via Twitter Search. So hashtag your tweet next time should you have something specific in mind. Happy Tweeting!