Hashtags: They’re coming and it’s time to embrace them. Last week Newsweek killed its print publication to move to digital. The death of yet another print publication isn’t the thing that caught our eye, it was that the final print issue features the compelling headline “#lastprintissue.”
So what is that pound sign thing and why didn’t anyone bother to space things properly? For the ultra geeks out there that were using IRC, Internet relay chat, years ago and continue to do so it’s second nature. A hashtag( #) by Wikipedia definition “provide a means of grouping such messages, since one can search for the hashtag and get the set of messages that contain it.” The hashtag began to take off in larger social media in 2007 as popularized on Twitter. For those that don’t use Twitter, it can be daunting to try and sift through millions of posts without some kind of digital waypoint. The hashtag has become this waypoint and is currently being embraced by major brands and activities from McDonalds to the NFL with increasing regularity. Most notably during the presidential election this year social media played a key role. During the debates journalists and political onlookers took to the internet to voice their opinion and weigh in on the issues.
Ok great, the hashtag gives us a way to sift through all the twitter data and IRC chat rooms but what’s that you say? “I don’t use Twitter.” Instagram is another social media platform to employ the use of hashtag usage as the internet becomes an increasingly vast place through constant content creation. Anywhere you see photo or video content is an opportunity to organize it into a source of data found through a common word or phrase preceded by the mighty #.
There is such a thing as hashtag abuse. Most often you’ll find this with very active people on twitter who use the hashtag as a way to emphasize a point or try and make a joke for example “Did you see those meggings? #TightsAreForGirls.” Of course the hashtagged phrase is completely arbitrary and just meant to be funny but to the uneducated reader this can be misleading.
Another offender is the over user. For example we all love sharing fluffy photos of our furry friends but when sharing “grumpy cat hates Christmas #sadface #grumpy #cat #funny #water #bath” this also defeats the purpose of finding relevant content and makes your tweet become rather muddled and hard to read in the process.
Why We Use Hashtags
If it’s not broke, don’t fix it. Ultimately we’re going to see media and advertising continue to gravitate towards the hashtag as the mechanism for capturing that precious user generated content that all marketers are learning to love. Here at Birdbox, we realized that the hashtag is the perfect way to help you keep your photos and videos organized in the way you want, so we’re using the # to make it easy to bring all of your photos and videos in to one place. It’s not going away so start organizing your photos with the hashtag in mind today. Trust us… you’ll thank us later.