20% of my friends don’t know what hashtags even are. The other 80% use them incorrectly. Horribly, horribly incorrectly.
So what is a hashtag?
A “hashtag” is simply a “#’ put directly in front of a word, or words, on social media platforms. Hashtags function on twitter, instagram, and as of recently–facebook.
What are hashtags used for?
Hashtags are used to categorize or file subjects on social media, so others–searching for those same subjects–can find your posts or photos that pertain to said subject. For example, you may take a picture of a taco and use the hashtag #taco. Now, others, who want to search for pictures or posts about tacos, will see your picture by searching for #taco. You may want to search for something too! If you’re looking for pictures or posts about burritos, you’d search for #burrito or #burritos, and see every post and pic that others have used the #burrito or #burrito hashtag in.
So how would one use a hashtag?
See what Lauren did here? She used hashtags that made sense–hashtagging words and subjects that people will search for. People will look for “tacos,” “Mexican food,” “lunch,” etc. Maybe people want to see what’s going on in #bakersfield, or want to see pictures of #bestfriends, or pics from #josebertos restaurant. All of Lauren’s hashtags were tied to both her post and photo, and were subjects, words and categories that people will actually “search” for. Good job Lauren!
So then, what are some examples of hashtags used incorrectly?
Let’s talk about why this twitter post is so wrong…
1) Remember, use hashtags to categorize subjects. Searchable subjects, that someone might actually have interest searching for. No one, and I mean NO ONE, is sitting around looking for posts about “mmmmm” or “hungry,” or “nomnomnom.” Those just aren’t searchable subjects, no one cares, and you just look dumb putting hashtags in front of those words. Same with #fail. You are #failingatlife when you use a hashtag there. They serve zero purpose except to spotlight your ignorance.
2) #thuglife. Ugh. No, you’re not a thug. And FYI there is nothing cool about being a thug. Thugs steal, rape and kill. And you wanna glamorize that? Go call your dad.
3) Don’t use hashtags for sentences. #needmoresalsa, #sohappyrightnow, #whoiswatchingymy5kids. That sh*t is ridiculous. I know you need more salsa, that you are happy right now–so happy, and I realize that yes, you are a horrible mom who doesn’t have a clue where your children are. However, hashtags simply aren’t needed here, and serve no function, except to make you look like the idiot you are.
4) “But wait, R Dub, some of my hashtags are hilarious! I am so funny!” Maybe you think you’re funny–but those same silly sentences that you think are entertaining are just fine without the hashtag. You are using a hashtag that serves absolutely no purpose at all. Remember what hashtags are used for: to categorize and file searchable subjects. So try this: go ahead and try telling your cutsie little joke or phrase without the hashtag, and see what happens. Look! Your clever anecdote is still there, just without a useless symbol in front of it. I assure you it will work out for you. Same message, no #. You will be okay. The world will be okay.
Thanks R Dub, this helps a lot! Are there any other examples of using hashtags incorrectly?
Why yes there are. I’m so glad you asked. Behold:
Hashtag “we”? Hashtag “I”? Hashtag “am”? Hashtag “Good”? Hashtag “Morning”? Are you serious right now???
If you use hashtags like the example above, not only should you not be using twitter or any other social media–but I am questioning who allowed you access to a computer or the internet in the first place??? You have no right to be using these tools. Seriously!
This is just the most horrible example of a person who has absolutely no idea of what they are doing and is just using the “#” symbol because they see others doing it, but have absolutely no idea why. If you know someone like this, please do the right thing for humanity and take away their access to the internet and anything electronic, immediately. It’s the right thing to do, to help them from hurting themselves or others. It also pains me to realize that these same people are allowed to vote.
Great, thanks R Dub, for helping me. Now, what can I do to help others?
If you have been using hashtags incorrectly, you’ve made the first step to recovery in reading this help guide. Please read it over again, slowly, and carefully. And if there is something that is unclear, contact me and I will be glad to help. By following the common sense explanations above, you can help yourself not look like a #dummy.
Share this with others. This lesson may have helped you–but there are millions of others like you…who need help and don’t even know it. Share this page with them. Let’s help these folks, one hashtag abuser at a time. Together, we can make a difference.
P.S. Show me your hashtag skills on twitter at @slowjams