Disclaimer: This post is not intended to be a rant on how idiots misuse hashtags on the web, but an informative post, meant to educate those idiots. I am hoping that people who are ignorant to the purpose and use of hashtags are the people who misuse them, and that this post will convince them to change their ways.
What is a Hashtag?
#breakingnews, #oscars, #thatawkwardmoment, and #fail are all examples of hashtags. A hashtag is one word following a hash mark, that, when used on Twitter, act as tags which you can click on and see other tweets with that hashtag. Hashtags only exist on Twitter, and came into common use among other social networks when services would redirect tweets and post them on other sites, such as Facebook and Myspace. These eventually were adopted as some sort of internet trend by people who are naive to Twitter.
I call hashtags on other sites than twitter “Crashtags”, as they do not function as hashtags(Twitter may not be the only site to use hashtags, if a site has support for them, then they are not considered crashtags). Crashtags are literally pointless and mean absolutely nothing. On twitter, you use a hashtag as a tag to other tweets, if it does not serve this purpose it is a crashtag. DO NOT EVER USE CRASHTAGS.
Crashtags are only acceptable if you redirect your twitter to another social networking site, and you have no power to prevent it. However, I would consider avoiding this scenario at all costs, this only increases the likelihood of someone misinterpreting them and becoming a crashtagger. (note:I use crashtags in this post due to pure necessity)
How To Use Hashtags on Twitter
1. Only use a hashtag if you are sure that other people also have used this before. If you post a hashtag, and you’re the only person who ever used it, than it is not serving its function as a tag.
2. Do not use a hashtag in every single tweet. There are certain people I follow, who I am quite sure think that they can’t tweet something if it doesn’t have a hashtag. If you do this, it is not required, it’s just annoying.
3. Remember that a hashtag ends after one word. By this I mean that a hashtag ends at any punctuation. You cannot hashtag bible verses for this reason; if you post “#john3:16″ the hashtag will be #john3.
4. Don’t use hashtags on common words in sentences. “His eyes were #red and I was #soscared” is an example of a hypothetical annoying tweet, this is verging more into opinion, but I’m just trying to prevent you from looking dumb. Try “His eyes were red and I thought he was going to kill me. #scared” (although, that hashtag is borderline needless).
5. Use capital letters to indicate different words. Hashtags are not case sensitive, but if you capitalize a letter, it will still show. #FAIL and #fail lead to the same pages. If you use a hashtag with multiple words, #ThatAwkwardMoment looks nicer and makes more sense than #thatawkwardmoment
What Can I Do to Prevent Crashtags and Misuse of Hashtags?
1. Do not use crashtags. Crashtags are a contagious problem, if you don’t have the disease, you can’t give it to others.
2. Avoid tweet forwarders that turn hashtags to crashtags by posting them to Facebook. If I see evidence that a crashtag on Facebook that used to be a hashtag, I forgive that person, because it is not their fault. (If you know somebody who could make a tweet forwarder that detects hashtags and deletes them, or if there is already one that does that, let me know)
3. Kindly inform crashtaggers. If you know people who are naive to the truth about hashtags, then make sure you let them know without calling them an idiot. Try sending them this article!