Hashtags – What and Why?

The use of hastags (#) was started with Twitter

The use of hastags (#) was started with Twitter

Despite what some may think, there are many people who have no idea what a hashtag (#) could be or why it is used.

It all started with Twitter back in 2007. The originators of Twitter didn’t think the hashtag was a great idea at first. When newspaper people started using it about fires in San Diego, the practice took off.

The hashtag (# ) is used to indicate a message on a particular topic. For example, when I send out a tweet about a new post on my blog about diabetes, I will include #diabetes at the end. That way if someone is looking for tweets about diabetes, my tweet will be included in the tweets listed from that search.

When you use a hashtag (#), the the words behind it are not separated. For example, if you were tweeting about social media, you would #socialmedia. You can #SocialMedia, if you want to, it does not affect the search. Just remember there are no spaces between words.  It is acceptable to use numbers. (#50shadesofgrey)


You will often see that people will make up funny # sayings. These are generally not meant as search terms as much as they are for amusement. So, you may see #baddaygetwine, that is more to be funny than for people to find everyone who had a bad day and wants a glass of wine.

If you want to do a search on Twitter, you type the term into the search box at the top of the page and a new page with tweets on that topic will come up. On that page there are categories like Top (most popular and relevant), Live (tweets on that subject that are happening right now), Accounts (the accounts that are tweeting on that topic), Photos (photos on that topic), Videos (videos on that topic) and then a category for More Options. The tweets that come up will be for the entire “Twitterverse” (everyone on twitter) but if  you want to see just the tweets on that topic from your connections, you can go to More Options and restrict the feed down to your connections.

Also on the left side of your Twitter page, you will see a column for Trending. This column is for tweets you might be interested in based upon your tweets and connections. Contrary to popular belief, it is not the trending tweets from the entire “Twitterverse”. It could be that some of your trending tweets are trending for everyone but that is not the norm.

Generally with Twitter, you can put 1-3 hashtags (#) per tweet. These should be specific and give context to your tweet. This is yet another time in life to keep the acronym KISS (keep it simple, stupid) in mind.

Gee, I thought this was the lb. symbol...

Gee, I thought this was the lb. symbol…

While Twitter is the birthplace of the #, it is used across other social media platforms as well.

Facebook can use hashtags but it is not as popular. When you use a hashtag as a search in Facebook your results will come from all across Facebook. The results will not be limited to those you know.

Google + also uses hashtags. When you search on Google+, the results will not only be for your hashtag word but it will also give you results for related terms.

Pinterest  uses hashtags although it is not necessary there.

Instagram is the home of massive hashtag use. Research has shown that 11 hashtags is the optimal number. You will see people who use many more than that.

I hope this give you some insight into the hashtag. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. If you would like to join our mailing list, please use the form at the top or bottom of this page.

You can also visit us on Facebook (CPML Social) or Twitter (@cpmlsocial). We are also on Pinterest and Linked In. Also, check out our web site at CPML Social.

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About Carol Early Cooney

I love to read. I love to share my thoughts on books and hope to hear what you think also. Looking to see what books I read beyond those I write about? Check out my Goodreads!
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