Can you over use hashtags on twitter?
Is obsessive hashtagging a problem?
And what advice would you give in terms of appropriate use of hashtags?
Why do I ask?
Because Marian Schembari left the following comment on my A Twitteraholic’s Guide to tweets, hashtags, and all things Twitter post:
“Certain tweeters need to cut it out with the obsessive hashtagging. It dilutes the message and looks spammy.”
Now I feel I haven’t provided enough advice on hashtags so want to rectify it.
And why did I miss it?
How you use Twitter and what annoys you depends how many you follow.
A person who follows 1,000’s of people sees things differently from someone who follows 100’s.
So what advice should I be providing on using hashtags on twitter?
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17 thoughts on “To hashtag or not to hashtag?”
No problem Dave. It was a great iviniatite by you and I am already seeing more new people joining twitter which is good. I think one of the first instructions I will be teaching them is the importance of chocolate as a means of bribing me
@Frank Adams I think as you say as long as they are using the hashtags in good tags and ideally aren’t constantly over using them. I think I need to start a collection of funny hashtags.
@Marian Schembari thanks again for highlighting that people can over use hashtags.
What I’m finding interesting with educators at the moment is they have twitter sessions where they discuss topics using a specific hashtag such as #edchat but there is a whole series of these different hashtags you can use so suddenly you’ll see a whole series of the different hashtags in the same tweet — as they try to engage with all the different conversations at the same time. Will be interesting to see with the other educators like or don’t like that.
Nothing wrong about being passionate about it.
BTW really nice posts on What Your Twitter Numbers Say About You. Wonder what my numbers say about me 🙂 Sadly I generally won’t add a person to my account unless they first add me as I would hate to think they might assume from my numbers I’m an autofollower or a spammer.
I just think that more people need to start realizing that if you do a Twitter search for, say, “nonprofits” – that word will come up whether or not there’s a hashtag. You don’t need to put a hashtag in front of a word just because you think it’s a keyword. I agree with Talia on that one.
The only times I ever use hashtags are when I’m at an event and I tweet about it, or if I’m involved in a Twitter chat. They’re pointless for any other reason, honestly. The people who use them regularly actually are just blatantly promoting how little they know about how Twitter works. Search functions and outside clients have made it so easy to search Twitter and keep tabs on brands/keywords/etc that there’s no reason to use them except for scheduled “meet ups”.
Sorry, am kind of passion about this, obviously 😉 I just think people are using them way too frequently for their own good. I meant what I said about look like spammers.
I do see a lot of people use hashtags excessively and they tend to use it for various reasons. Some use it to start a conversation with their followers and some use it for jokes. In any case, I think there is no problem with that as long as it is in good taste.
@Ed thanks for highlighting that aspect and really think I need to emphasize that aspect in my post in terms of how a new person on twitter can use them to connect up with other twitterers.
Discovering hashtags changed my whole outlook on Twitter! When I was still developing a following and followers, setting up columns in Tweetdeck for #edchat and #edtech introduced me to new people and new conversations I would never have discovered otherwise. When sharing or requesting help, hashtags like those mean more people are likely to see them and respond too.
@Gail P Normally I’ll only use a hashtag for group discussions or for conferences as it makes it easy to track the conversation.
But I do admit to enjoying a chuckle at the funny ones that people use for the sake of humor. Sometimes they grab your attention more than a normal tweet.
@Talia Thanks you are so right! Make sure you are using a hashtag that does make you part of being a conversation not one that is meaningless because too generic.
My bigest pieces of advice to people using twitter (in regard to hashtags) is this:
Do not place a hash in front of keywords in your tweet for no real reason. Most of the twitter software that searches tweets on particular topics don’t care if there is a hashtag in front of the word of not, just that the word is there!
Hastags are referencing events, news, software, or memes, not for random words.
Example of bad hashtag use:
“I just #love my new iPhone”
Example of good hashtag use:
“I just love my new iPhone #ios4”
In the good example you ADDED to the tweet with the hashtag, and made it relevant to people looking at that widely used hashtag.
“love” is too common a word to be a good hashtag…
I only use hashtags occasionally for the reason I am not usually following a big group discussion. I guess if you have lots of folks to follow on a topic, you want the hashtag so you can search for more of the discussion. I use them when there is an active and continued discussion of a topic or blog. Lately, that means #temt. It seems that some folks include them as part of the message, often for the sake of humor as in #peoplewhocomplainabouthashtaguse
Hi Sue,Seems you are going to get me involved in aehtonr great challenge. I was going to tweet more often than I do, but I can never think of anything to say. This is such a good idea.NatasaP.S. I am still in the Blogging Challenge. Though I have slowed down even more, I’ll get there in the end.
@awyatt I normally hashtag if I have a purpose. Like to help connect with people at conferences. However because of the number of people I follow I have never thought about people who over hashtag, But I could imagine if you are only following 20-100 people you would really notice someone that always hashtag.
But perhaps it is no different than someone who only broadcasts and never engages in conversations? One criteria I look at closely when making a decision is how much conversation they are having with other people.
@wmchamberlain I think lots of people get annoyed when you see excessive conference tweets. Sometimes I have a good chuckle at the weirder longer has tags because they really stand out.
Like the #thingsthatannoyme 🙂 loved when they used #justsaying when spreading funny stories of what I was up to
Sue, as you already know I like to use hash tags #often 😉 It is a good way to draw attention to something in a tweet. I also use them for their better intended purpose. I too sometimes get annoyed by all the hash tags coming from conferences I am not attending, but usually that is more out of jealousy than anything else. Guess I’m not helping much with getting you an answer to your question…
I think the key to using or not using hashtags is whether or not they will help you find a conversation stream later! With #moodle, for example, maybe you don’t really need the hashtag. Moodle is a pretty unique term (but not totally!), so you could get good results subscribing to a feed for the term. But you will get more precise results subscribing to the hashtag.
In general, I like hashtags for specific things, like conference streams or a particular class. Using a specific hashtag created especially for an event or group of people can help everyone, particularly when you have announced it ahead of time and people know it is the designated tag for the event. I find them less useful when they look like this: #thingsthatannoyme. 🙂 But I think you should just roll with it. People find their own way, and I accespt that that way isn’t likely to be my way. I try to focus on the good and let the rest go.