As Twitter regulars, we’re fascinated by the way that the social network has grown and evolved as a result of its users.
One of the most interesting features is the hashtag, or #. Hashtagging is a mechanism for given topics to group together and possiblytrend.
They’re searchable and links within tweets that contain hashtags are more likely to be clicked.
A hashtag can be put in front of any word, although they’re most useful when used with a topic that is likely to be trended. These fall into three broad categories:
1. Regular, generic # topics that don’t relate to a news item, but the Twitter community itself or social media in general (e.g. #twitter). Some of the more popular ones are listed below.
2. News-related #, such as #oilspill, or entertainment topics, like #justinbieber
3. Marketing #
As a marketing tool, hashtags allow companies themselves to be trended. #moonfruit, for example, related to a giveaway by a company in London, that competed with #ripmj on the day that the media reported Michael Jackson’s death. Recognised brand names work well in trending, so long as there’s a compelling reason for others to retweet the message. Hashtags can sometimes be negative, such as #ie8
Here’s a guide to some of the more common #hashtags that are regularly used and shared:
#musicmonday – A way of listing favourite bands and artists, compiled on Mondays
#charitytuesday – A way of listing favourite charities, compiled on Tuesdays
#ff or #followfriday – The followfriday hashtag has become the most popular regular appearance on Twitter. It allows Twitter users to name friends, relatives, colleagues and interesting Twitterers whom they invite their followers to also follow.
#tfb – Too f***ing bad
#fail – A generic hashtag that usually relates to a company’s or organisation’s failure, followed or preceded by the name of the company or organisation
#nowplaying – Relates to tracks being listened to by users on Spotify or Last.fm
#fb – References to Facebook
#twitter or #twt – References to Twitter
#todo – A personal memo, that the user wants to share
Other popular tags include:
Of course, #hashtagging is a movable feast and there are several websites dedicated to keeping track of current trends, perhaps most notably http://wthashtag.com
We plan to update this post when something new evolves.