After reading Shel Israel’s Twitterville: Global Neighborhood, I came to a realization as to how powerful the innovation of the hashtag on twitter really is. A hashtag is a simplistic; yet powerful tool that makes finding events, tracking topics or following news in the Twitter community easy and efficient. By applying one of these simple characters to the front of a topic, you make it easy for Twitter users to find and engage in that topics discussion with you, as well as help create networking connections.
In Twitterville, Israel reflects upon how the hashtag has been crucial to businesses in the sense that it allows users to conjugate around a common cause. This can ultimately be used to effect a public’s perception of a company as well as increase its brand-awareness. However, the majority of hastags on Twitter today are often obscure in nature meaning, they are often context referenced. A good example of this can be found within the recent Charlie Sheen hype. What does “#tigerblood” actually mean anyway? This worked just fine in Sheen’s case, but in order for hashtags to be effective for companies and individuals alike, they should be clear and concise; not some type of cute little quirk.
Apart from using hastags to project their company through Twitter, Public Relations practitioners can reach out to other colleagues with the simple use of the character. For example, #pr20chat, which stands for PR 2.0, is a hashtag “forum” in which practitioners can discuss public relations related issues and their social media implications. Another, #u30pro, or “Under 30 professional”, focuses on issues surrounding Public Relations practitioners under the age of thirty. What’s more, using these forums allows for networking with individuals in which can help you create beneficial connections.
Israel really hit the mark with his assessment of the Hashtag in Twitterville. The correct, concise utilization of this character can be enormously beneficial to a practitioners company, as well as to the practitioner in regards to making important networking connections.
For more tips on how to effectively utilize the “hashtag” visit: http://mashable.com/2009/05/17/twitter-hashtags/
University of Minnesota