The Importance of the Hashtag
Who knew that the pound sign would one day be a tool for exploration? Digital exploration. Some people use this simple symbol for tagging a phrase on twitter, some use it to personify a statement or idea within a posts, and some use them to become discoverable. A little history, the hash, or pound key, was added to phones, along with the astrects (*), by AT&T in 1968. In the 80's, the hashtag was first used to do fancy things, such as being the stop button for voicemail recordings. Woah, high tech!
Now, a hash tag is much more than recording your voice for the 5th time for people to hate receiving when they are trying to reach you. A hashtag assists with you being virtually discovered. People scroll through compiled images, tweets, and posts that are connected by a specific hashtag. A person may click into a hashtag because their social media stream is dull, there is a trending topic that he or she wants to see, to view different content on an event, and many other reasons that would take a few sentences to include. The main point is that hashtags are a way to see a wider set of content. In the end, a hashtag can lead to the searcher finding amazing images, interesting brands, and/or new people to follow. I found myself scrolling through the #ComplexCon hashtag in search of videos of the event, but found much more. I liked random user's pictures, watched a few re-cap videos, and found an art community that has an amazing collective all because of a simple hashtag. Some might find the liking of random user's images weird, but I actually wanted to show that I liked the image or video even if I did not follow the person. I mean, we can compliment a random person's style, but we can't like a picture of a person we don't personally know, unless they are famous of course. Sigh, social media society.
Most people on social media want to be discovered. Either by their art, blogs, style, or life, some people want to be followed because they have something to show others, like you and me. What a great way to be seen and make a possible connection than by utilizing a tool as simple as the hashtag. Use this symbol along with words or phrases that are trending within a specific topic or group, so that you can be seen by the people you are trying to reach. I hash tagged #ComplexCon and ended up having brands I follow like some of my pictures. The bitter truth, though; is that using hashtags can create false connections, such as the one's mentioned in the BOTS post, where people have an application like posts that meet certain criteria, which includes specific hash tagged words or phrases. But, even then, some of these bots that like your pictures present some people and brands that might actually interest you. A hashtag is to not be underestimated.
For those of you that wish to be discovered, connect with new people, or simply find content on things that you like, utilize hashtags. A great way to be discovered is by adding trending hashtags to your posts. If you do not know, trending hashtags can usually be found on the search or discover section of an application. Want to connect with others as rad as you? Hashtag something that people like you would find interesting. And, a good way to find content of things you like is by searching hashtags of something that interests you. Next time you want to hashtag everything that is in your picture, think about hash tagging something someone else will be able to find you by and thank AT&T for opening the many possibilities of the pound sign.