What the heck is a #Hashtag?
Ever notice in Twitter World that people have been using "#" signs in front of "Keywords" or "Groups" or "Locations" ?
Well these so called # groups are called "Hashtags" what is a hash tag you may ask?
Hashtags are used to create real time track records of creating groups on twitter. Placing the # sign in front of keywords or targeted groups, makes it easier to track all conversations in the twitter timeline via search.
Hashtags were most notable during the San Diego forest fires in 2007 when Nate Ritter used the hashtag "#sandiegofire" to identify his updates related to the disaster.
Some links to check out.......
http://hashtags.org/ is the website to track real time Twitter Hashtags being invented/used.
http://twitter.com/hashtags is the twitter account to follow in order to submit your new hashtags.
The famous Chris Messina who started the idea of using Hashtags on twitter as a new means of grouping found here on his blog.
Youtube video of Bwana explaining what is a hashtag.
Is #Hashtags dying?
Ok now that we are all caught up on hashtags, lets look deeper shall we.
Matt Browne wrote a great article on the Death of Hashtags on Twitter. He did an interesting search on different hashtags and found that by searching the actual words created the most reach of all.
- barcamp san diego
Now I know alot of people still use hashtags which is great most recently notorious on twitter was #VAR08 (Virginia Association of Realtors Convention) and #REBW (Real Estate Blog World)
The point Matt Browne was making is that hashtags aren't widely understood or searched by the majority. There are still alot of people out there not using hashtags because either a.) they dont know how or b.) they don't think its necessary.
Hashtags was actually very useful for the Twitt-Geeks and People researching information on twitter but nowadways theres a new Tool that takes precedence.
Twitter Search Winner
Keep in mind when Chris Messina came up with the idea of groups on twitter and the hashtag phenomenon, The new Twitter Search was not in place and was not able to keep smart real time track of conversations.
Check out http://search.twitter.com/
you can do your searches for either a hashtag or keywords here and keep tabs on all the real time tweets. Notice the "trending topics" the vast majority is keywords with maybe a few hashtags thrown in the mix.
is another real time trending topic only regarding election topics (this is very amusing to see real time tweets)
My 2 cents on Hashtags vs Twitter Search
I don't believe hashtags are becoming extinct. I still see major bloggers and twittheads using them. Now is the whole world using them? of course not, in time will they start using them? I believe hashtags might keep getting more and more popular but not to the point where majority of Twitter will be using it mainstream.
Hashtags are becoming more exclusive cliques and more group oriented. The people using the #hashtags are providing tracking information exclusively for their realm of followers and peers and not really open to the public.
I believe the #hashtag era will never die for that groups and peers will still use them to provide tracking but less and less will be used by the mainstream public like #celebritygossip or #ps3 will start slowly dying.
All in All I enjoy reading and tracking hashtags on twitter and I also enjoy searching different groups non-hashtags on twitter.
Both is great, what is your choice?
As always thanks for checking out my blog, feel free to leave a comment and have a great day!
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