Understanding Twitter (Part 2)

Hashtags & Searching

Ever wondered what this twitter hashtag thingy is? Do you see people putting things like #bizitalk #competition #charity in their tweets & wonder what they’re for? Using hashtags like #followfriday or it’s shortened version #ff help spread information on Twitter while also helping to organize it. These hashtags can help with networking, either for businesses or individuals.  The #bizitalk hashtag is used by business to meet other businesses who retweet and spread the word to other tweeters, so if I tweet about a particular item I have available in the shop at a bargain price, it would only usually be seen by my followers.  By adding this particular hashtag among others, there is a greater chance for other businesses to retweet my tweet and then, their followers will see it too.  This obviously increases a tweeter’s audience in effect increasing followers.  Individuals use #hashtags to find ‘like-minded’ tweeters.  You may wish to find others who enjoy baking so you can search for a #baking twitter community. Or perhaps you are into running? How about the #runchat tag? You can network or follow other like-minded people on virtually any subject just by using Twitter’s search facility and then join in with conversations on that particular subject using a specific hashtag.  One important thing to remember is that if you want to start a trend on twitter with like minded people using your hashtag – keep it short but different!  If you are planning a village fete or some other event & want to spread the word & get people talking about it, you first need to search for the hashtag that you are thinking of using. If you are having a book club event – Just using #bookclub may not be good enough – there may already be lots of people using this hashtag so search for it.  Try to think of something that will make your hashtag individual.  When you have chosen, then tweet about your event using that hashtag asking if anyone else would like to join & that they should add this hashtag to join in. You will be surprised at how quickly you get like minded people using the tag. Of course, don’t overdo hashtags – It is a total waste of time to just put lots of hashtags in a tweet – as no substance is there to encourage people to retweet and after all, that’s the name of the game!  You don’t need a hashtag if you want to find people in your own town, Just search the name of the town and you will get a stream showing all the tweeters in that location.  The advanced page of Twitter’s search engine has an option to search ‘Near this place’, you can also stipulate within a certain distance, using certain hashtags (there’s that word again!) Or even state what language they tweet in!

Next time: I’ll start with a list of Twitter terminology that you may see in other peoples tweets that may or may not confuse you. Twitterspeak!

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