The Art of Hashtag

Using hashtags is an art form.

The hashtag is one of the most misunderstood tools of social media. Though many people use them (often excessively), their true purpose sometimes gets lost.

There are no definitive rules for how, or when, to use a hashtag; but there are methods for using them effectively, depending on intention and purpose.

When used effectively, hashtags can connect people, across the world, and allow them to communicate. They can raise awareness for causes, ideas and brands. Hashtags have the power to prove we all have more in common than not.

But using them properly takes skill, forethought and creativity. There is an art to hashtags.

 

Hashtags are engagement tools.

When you break it down, Twitter is simply a group of people speaking to each other (sometimes themselves), in real time.

But from the outside looking in, Twitter can look like a lot of noise. It can be difficult to separate one conversation from another.

Unless you’re use a hashtag.

Hashtags are engagement tools which let people label their own conversation, and let others join. Placing a hashtag within a tweet makes it easy to find, through Twitter’s search bar. They can also start trends and movements.

 

What is a hashtag? How do I Use a Hashtag?

The most common question people have when the first create a Twitter account, is “what’s the @#$% is a hashtag?” It’s a confusing form of communication, that doesn’t easily relate to our standard way of speaking.

The closest comparison is non-verbal communication. The hashtag can sometimes put emphasis on a statement. Or it can add subtext.

Essentially, the hashtag adds context to your message. It’s like rolling your eyes, using air-quotes, or using hand gestures. In a static form of communication, like simple text, the hashtag adds flair.

But the first time you see it, the meaning is usually lost.

 

When Should I Use a Hashtag?

While new Twitter users may not understand the purpose of a hashtag, some social media veterans and millennials don’t fully get it either.

In my opinion, there are 3 main functional uses for the hashtag. Let me break it down.

 

Join the Conversation

A hashtag lets you connect with people talking about the same subject. Adding hashtags lets others discover a tweet through Twitter’s search bar. Once searched, every tweet that includes the hashtag is displayed.

For some hashtags, there may be a few tweets a minute, or hour. Other times, like during popular cultural events (the Super Bowl, The Voice season finale, or the police chasing a couple llamas across Arizona), several tweets per second can appear.

These popular cultural events, and the Twitter response to them, are called live tweeting, and involve a large group of people all talking about the same topic.

Live tweeting is the world’s largest, active conversation about the same topic.

Using hashtags lets people join the conversation, and connect with others (sometimes strangers) interested in the same subject.

When you want to communicate with others about a particular topic, hashtags can help you connect

 

Get Discovered

Twitter is a powerful two-way communication tool. Through the platform, people can speak directly to friends, strangers and public figures.

But sometimes people aren’t looking for a dialogue; instead preferring the soliloquy.

In 2010, Twitter reported performing 1.6 billion search queries per day. The current number is guaranteed to be higher, as there were only 50 million active Twitter users in 2010.  As of Q3 2015, there were over 300 million active users.

Twitter is one of the top search engines in the world, and it can be used as a source for sharing your message.

Hashtags can be used to help others discover a specific topic. Adding them to a tweet will allow it to appear when users search for that hashtag.

If you have a message to share, but don’t want to start a conversation, hashtags can help you categorize and store your message for future discovery.

However, there are many popular hashtags that are searched for regularly. Even more, some people track specific hashtags, and are alerted whenever a tweet is posted which includes it. While others have lists and filters which only show tweets using a specific hashtag.

Not only can a hashtag let you categorize your tweet for later discovery, it can be used to get discovered in real time.

 

Start a Trend

Most people and brands don’t have the type of influence, or clout, to start a Twitter trend without spending money on advertising.  But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible; just difficult.

A hashtag can become trending. This occurs when a large number of people tweet using the same hashtag. This often occurs during live tweeting events, but can happen naturally, or through persuasion.

People and brands with social influence often start trending hashtags. When celebrities, television shows, or other sources with large followings, encourage fans to use a specific hashtag, people generally oblige.

The most common reason to get a hashtag to trend is to raise awareness.

When people tweet with a specific hashtag, their Twitter followers see it; which in turn, can lead to them clicking the hashtag and discovering a large group of people using it as well. Out of curiosity, and fear of missing out (FOMA), these people will investigate and try to figure out what everyone is talking about. Before long, they’ll trace the hashtag back to its source, and possibly discover a new social influencer.

This is an effective form of branding and marketing, and can raise awareness through word-of-mouth.

But sometimes hashtag trends happen organically. If there is a cause that appeals to the masses, they may share the hashtag as well. This can often occur as a form of activism, but can be used whenever there is an idea or belief that unites people.

Starting hashtag trends are the best way to raise awareness, get discovered, and start a conversation. Not everyone has the power to do this, but when accomplished, the hashtag is at its most powerful.

 

Hashtags can be fun, or they can be powerful tools. They can add flair to your sentence, or unite a nation.

When used effectively, hashtags can spread a single message further than any other form of communication currently available in the world. A single hashtag can connect people of all beliefs, lifestyles and cultures, and can pass through borders with ease.

Their power is unmatched in communication, but too few people understand how to use them effectively. Using hashtags properly combines science and artistry.

To get the most out of them, you must learn the art of hashtag.

 

This blog was originally posted on “A Working Progress” @ BecauseYouGoogledMe.com

 

 

The Voice of A Working Progress...

The Voice of A Working Progress…

I hate the sound of my voice. I still have no idea how my own voicemail sounds. I don’t want to hear it. The reality of my voice isworse than whatever it is I hear when I speak. To anyone that’s ever heard me, I apologize.

Regardless how it sounds, I’m glad I have one. My limited hand dexterity wouldn’t allow me to hold a full conversation in sign language (sorry ladies).

Hearing your voice is one thing. Finding your voice is something else altogether. What should your voice sound like? What will it say? How will it say it?

As I started my journey through the un-filtered landscape of digital marketing, At first, I simply wanted to be present. I hoped to experiment. Learn, Evolve. Improve. So I started creating and curating. Spreading content across as many platforms possible. I was a machine possessed. On a mission to spread like a virus.

But, as I look back at my work, I notice the mistakes. The gaps in optimization. The lack of quality engagement. I see all the content I marketed, and understand it had no voice. Not unifying message. My voice sounds terrible.

One post was a self-created gif. Another was a link for better SEO. I wrote about a trending sub-reddit one day. The next was about networking on LinkedIn. I’d gain a follower because of a meme I created, then lose them because my next curation had nothing to do with what interested them in the first place.

In the process, I’ve learned my content needs a voice. And it won’t involve speaking to anyone specifically.

My day-to-day responsibilities are overwhelming in scope. I’m a hybrid-marketer. I practice, research and implement a multitude of marketing components. Webmaster. SEO. Social media. Content creation. Content curation. Copywriting. Networking. Email marketing. Direct marketing. Digital marketing. Traditional marketing. Guerilla marketing. Promotions. Public relations. Google AdWords. Social media advertising. Print advertising. And so on. And so on.

As I compiled a list of articles I read, presentations I download, pages I shared, media I created, accounts I followed, etc., I heard my voice.

I’m A Working Progress…

I represent the evolution and growth of a digital marketer. A trial-by-fire experiment, from creation and curation, to implementation and optimization. My hat collection is expansive, and I wear all of them daily.

My guess is I’m not alone.

I can’t focus on any one of these aspects. Not for long, anyhow. My mind, like my to-do list, jumps from topic to topic. I’m the profile of a multitasker.

So follow me, as I experiment. Share the things I like. Curate the content of interest. And if the voice you hear today isn’t interesting, understand it’ll talk about something else tomorrow.

Random Blurbs and Out-of-Context Copy, Part II

Stumble Upon:
Content curation at its most random. Review what I’m browsing, sharing and stumbling.

Twitter:
The social hub of all communication. Part random creations, part amusing insights, all #DigitalMarketing.

Flipboard:
Read what I read and stay current with events. Helping me bring something interesting to the dinner-party table.

Why this Site Exists:
“The more you know, the more you know you don’t know anything. You know?” BecauseYouGoogledMe, Here I Am. A socially awkward digital marketer. Creating, curating and sharing content. Consider this page my platform for spreading my digital identity; the singularity of all my work. If you like anything you see, you may like something else on this site – satisfaction not guaranteed.

About Me:
A socially awkward digital marketer building an online identity, one post at a time. I’m experimenting, mostly failing, but learning as I share. I understand the future of marketing is web-based, and building reputations, promoting engagmeent, creating organic virality and marketing content is where the industry is going. I’ll eventually be an expert, but for now, I’m linking the best I can.

Reviews:
These are (not) real reviews of my work and character.

Facebook (me):
Call it mainstream, or call it uncool. Fact is, we all have an account. For SEO and credibility alone, a Facebook Page is worth keeping active.

WordPress:
My ongoing story. A journal of marketing experiments, concepts, insights and strategies. It’s not for everyone. May not be for anyone. But it’s me, written the best I know how.

Share if You Like:
A “Best Of” aggregate, packaged as a “fingers crossed” call to action.

Best of Social Page:
The social media Big 3. Embedded to promote. The majority of my digital identity is spread via these social media platforms.

Facebook (GT):
GameTime’s primary brand page. Promoting corporate messagings. Advertising. Responding to customer questions/concerns.

Twitter (GT):
Currently a low-engagment platform, but a digital marketing necessity. Tracks #Arcade, #FamilyEntertainmentCenter, #Miami, #SportsBar & #Tampa to engage with target audience.

GT.com:
Deisgned structure and flow. Webmaster for all content, upated weekly. Building SEO through edited revisions based on keyword metrics and analytics.

Work Page:
A portfolio of work, projects and marketing materials, cross-linked for optimization. I can explain what I’ve done, or I can show you in real-time.

LinkedIn:
The only social media with a dress code. My preferred networking platform for “suit and tie” posts, links and discussions.

Visual CV:
A “save the trees” resume. Best Case: Updated quarterly. Worst Case: Updated immediately.

Indeed:
So many job boards, why Indeed? To be perfectly candid, it’s the only one permiting profile sharing.

Cover Page:
I work because I have a passion for marketing. I also work to pay rent, buy groceries, and afford Netflix. Currently employed, but only fools shut their ears to opportunities. Behind all the content, posts, comments, links, profiles and digital goofiness, is a professional. I promise.

Content:
Content marketing never a zero-sum endeavor. Winning in one are doesn’t infer losing (or winning) in another. Going viral requires going all-in, not just on your table, but all of them. Had enough “gaming” metaphors? The future of content marketing, and thus digital marketing, is the ability to adjust contnet and/or messaging according to the accepted consumption of media of the particular social platform. Marketers will be expected to understand the nuiances and intricacies of each digital medium. Here you will find links, examples of, and favorite self-produced content, across platforms.

Pinterest:
The female demographic <3s Pinterest. As a marketing male, it’s my responsibility to understand why.

Reddit:
“The front page of the internet.” Everything popular in the digital world funnels through Reddit eventually. Master Reddit and the world is your bitcoin.

SlideShare:
“Always save your work.” Not every idea is genius. Not every failure is a mistake. Here you will find a collection of my professional work, accomplishments and marketing decks.

BuzzFeed:
We love to read lists, and no matter how old we get, we prefer our stories to have pictures. I contribute to the BuzzFeed community, and when I grow up, I want to be a BuzzFeed editor.

Imgur:
My photo sharing social platform of choice. Here you’ll find nearly all my image content, sorted by (arbitrary) album (titles).

Random Blurbs:
Amusing Blurbs
A Never-Finished Product
BecauseYouGoogledMe, Here I Am.
A Curation of Content by BecauseYouGoogledMe
The Links of a Digital Identity
A website created to cross-link, self-promote and experiment
Q:Why does this exist?
A: BecaseYouGoogledMe

 

Was Snapchat Being Hacked a Good Thing?

The world is only speeding up. Unfortunately, as a consequence, children aren’t granted the same timeline of innocence previous generations blissfully enjoyed.

Image

Snapchat being hacked should come as a surprise to no one. It was a matter of when, not if. But is it good that it was finally hacked? I’d argue, from the perspective of a concerned parent, it’s the best the best thing that could happen to the platform.

Of course anytime personal information, including cell numbers, user passwords and private messages, are taken without permission, concern, even fear, is justly condoned. But complete, blind-sighted reliance upon any social media site to protect personal information is a dangerous mistake.

As teenagers tire of Facebook and instead, upload their social life to platforms like Instagram and Snapchat, concerned parents have difficulty keeping up. Ask a teen why they no longer use Facebook and they’ll respond, “because my parents are on it.” Ask that same teen why they trust Snapchat, and they’ll respond, “because my parents don’t know how to use it.”

And no one wants their Grandma to poke them, or comment on their new selfie.Image

But with the unwelcome “invasion of privacy” parents bring to their children’ social media, also comes a necessary involvement in the content teens are openly sharing. Parents are rapidly learning the Facebook platform, and in turn, are better suited to check in on their children. To assure they aren’t uploading a mistake they’ll regret later.

Snapchat being hacked may force teens to acknowledge their privacy is easily stolen. Foresight has never been a tool of the youth. Understanding a site they willingly supply with private information is vulnerable will hopefully force them to grow up a bit quicker.

If you would like to find out if you’re Snapchat account has been hacked, please visit http://www.lookup.gibsonsec.org, provided by Gibson Security. They are providing this service, free of charge.