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What are hashtags and why use them?

Published: January 24 2012

First off, what is a hashtag when used with Twitter?

A hashtag is created by adding the # sign to the beginning of a word. For example, if you tweeted about jobs specific to Kelowna, you would use the hashtag, #kelownajobs. You can use it for single words, like #kelowna, or abbreviated words, such as #kelpoli for the Kelowna political scene. You can use it on acronyms like the popular one today, #SOPA, which stands for the bill in the states called the Stop Online Piracy Act. 

Why use a hashtag?

Hashtags are used to categorize comments on a similar topic and allows users to click on that hashtag in a tweet to see more tweets on that same hashtag. You can also setup lists using hashtags. WelcometoKelowna.com has done this for the general public on its news streams. Here are some examples:

You can search for a trending topic or just type in a search on twitter with the hashtag. Try using the #SOPA and you will see much discussion on the topic of the proposed bill. There are many online protests today on the bill, including Wikepedia and Google.

You can easily create a hashtag yourself. If you do, try to make it something others may be interested in. Do a search first as it may already be in use.

Some cool hashtag tools;

  • Hashtags.org allows you to search hashtags and see their use frequency
  • Twubs.com – are twitter groups built and aggregated from #hashtags

WelcometoKelowna.com is a local focus on the use of hashtags.

Hope that helps, and if you have more questions, feel free to call us at 250.862.8010 or toll free at 1.866.862.8010 or email us at [email protected].