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

 

 

Is Twitter’s Proposed 10k-Character Limit a Good Idea?

Is Twitter’s Proposed 10k-Character Limit a Good Idea?

New-Twitter-Logo

The big Twitter news, beside the possibility of being banned in Turkey, was that the 140-character limit may go extinct.

First reported by Re/Code, the news comes as Twitter’s CEO, Jack Dorsey, continues to figure out how to make Twitter profitable.

Instead of a 140-character limit, Tweets will have a 10,000 character-limit.

And of course Twitter reacted the way Twitter always does; with an overreaction.

Join the fun. Search for #Twitter10k.

 

Apparently Twitter has a new logo.

 

As you can see, anger is at its typical Twitter level.

 

My personal favorite.

 

 

But is this (potential) Twitter change really that big of a deal?

 

Yes (but mostly no). Here are a few (possible) consequences.

 

A “Read More” Option

If this change occurs, the heart-and-soul of Twitter won’t change. Twitter has always been about brevity and creativity. 140 characters forces users to pick their words carefully; and sometimes make them up (see: BAE & NSFW).

But Tweets won’t suddenly be long-winded ramblings. Instead, a “read more” option will be implemented.

Tweets will stick to their 140 character roots, and give readers an option to “expand” the tweet. And if the first 140 don’t interest them, they’ll just keep on scrolling.

 

Even More Clickbait

File this under “annoying,” but not necessarily “bad.”

This 10k change is being considered more for advertisers, than it is for users. Many advertisers find the 140-character limit too, well… limiting.

Brevity and creativity are not something many businesses can accomplish. Instead, they prefer multi-sentence sales-pitches, and long-winded promotional copy. The best social media marketers may not have this issue, but those slower to adapt to digital marketing, have trouble.

Insert more clickbait.

We’ve all seen them, and we’ve all been tricked.

8 things you should never feed to cats and dogs

I Left My Husband & Daughter At Home And THIS Happened! I Can’t Believe It!

Advertisers will stop trying to sell you something creatively; instead, they’ll use more clickbait, encouraging you to click “read more” on their Tweet.

 

Twitter Users (kinda) Asked for It

I can’t imagine anyone tweeted CEO Jack Dorsey, asking for more characters. But what Twitter did notice was an increase in tweets with screenshots of longer text messages.

It’s clear some users have more to say, and need a way to fit it all in a single tweet.

For those verbose Twitter users, the option to say everything they want, in a single tweet, would be a nice addition.

The only alternative is to send out multiple tweets, in rapid-fire succession, that pick up right where the last tweet ended. This is already more annoying than a possible “read more” icon.

 

The Biggest Twitter Complaint Still Wasn’t Addressed

Spend half-a-minute looking through all the #Twitter10k tweets, and you’ll notice one, consistent trend. There’s still no edit option for tweets.

Twitter users aren’t looking to say more; instead, they just want the ability to edit tweets. A way to fix a typo, or alter a URL mistake.

Twitter announcing this potential change illustrates it isn’t listening to users; instead, focusing on advertiser’s demands.

Which, as a business, isn’t always a bad thing.

But, as many social media platforms are discovering, their popularity came from the unique experience they provided regular people. It wasn’t until they tried to appease advertisers, that people start moving away.

Go ahead and ask a millennial how much time they spend on Facebook.

The success of a business often depends on its ability to gain repeat customers; which is cheaper than acquiring new ones.

 

 

It’s no guarantee that Twitter will implement this change, as multiple possible changes have been suggested by the company. But if these do occur, it’ll be a sign that Twitter is more concerned with appealing to stockholders, than to users.

Will this change cause people to find an alternative social media platform? Let me know what you think, in the comment section of this blog.

 

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

How-I-Met-Your-Mother-Pie-Chart-Favorite-Bars-BecauseYouGoogledMe

1st World Digital Marketing Problems

 

In essence, we must fail to succeed. – Daniel M. Christensen

What can you learn from reading LinkedIn updates? That everyone is an expert. Regardless of their field, every professional is convinced they must prove they have all the answers. Because of the inherent self-promotional attitude necessary, marketing professionals suffer from this “guru-mentality” at much higher percentages. Every marketer, especially in the digital realm, is convinced their methods will lead to success. They’ve tested, perfected and out-performed all of their peers.

The truth is, however, most digital marketers simply pick-and-choose segments of data, test results and insights to “Frankenstein” their own personal creed. No marketer likes to admit they’re still learning.

Luckily this method works. Too many executives, bosses and decision-makers know too little about the industry. They hear their business must exist online, but don’t know how truly make it grow. They understand social media is culture’s latest “fad,” and believe simply existing on Facebook will grow their business.

They want success, but don’t always believe in investing in true talent. True success comes from true talent. Talent’s the offspring of competition. To compete is to fail. And to fail is to learn. In essence, we must fail to succeed.

But before one can succeed, it is necessary to teach the inexperienced. In today’s corporate environment, all people, regardless of title, must keep social media in their mind. Today, no business-related action lives in isolation. It is crucial to include marketing teams in most business decisions, since each decision affects customers. And marketing teams are often the first point-of-contact for many customers. Whether through social media, email, or online review, customer’s opinions are often first heard by marketing teams.

Unfortunately, too many people are still unsure what digital marketing entails. It’s time we discussed today’s most common misconceptions.

1st World Digital Marketing Problems:

What my Boss thinks I do…

How-I-Met-Your-Mother-Pie-Chart-Favorite-Bars-BecauseYouGoogledMe

 

What my Co-Workers think I do…

Hamster-on-a-Piano-Derek-BecauseYouGoogledMe

 

What the Accounting Department thinks I do…

The-Joker-Burns-Money-Stack-BecauseYouGoogledMe

 

What the Web Designer thinks I do…

Zoolander-Files-in-Computer-BecauseYouGoogledMe

 

What the I.T. Guy thinks I do…

Hackers-I-Want-a-Cookie-BecauseYouGoogledMe

 

What Google Search thinks I do…

Cats-and-Kitties-BecauseYouGoogledMe

 

What my Customer’s Inbox thinks I do…

Hoarding-Burried-Alive-Newspapers-BecauseYouGoogledMe

 

What my Grandmother thinks I do…

Iron-Man-2-Touch-Screen-Scene-BecauseYouGoogledMe

 

What my Friends think I do…

South-Park-World-of-Warcraft-BecauseYouGoogledMe

 

What my Optometrist thinks I do…

Clockwork-Orange-Treatment-Scene-BecauseYouGoogledMe

 

What Teenagers think I do…

A-Night-at-the-Roxbury-BecauseYouGoogledMe

Wanna Go Viral? Ask Grandma for Help

As I work on my content creation, expand my meme knowledge, gif designing, and become versed in the latest internet LOLs, I pause to reflect.

What causes some darts thrown at the digital boards to stick, and others to miss entirely?

Improving your chances of going viral  is a topic written ad nauseum by everyone from About.com  to Forbes .  But what’s missing from these studies is what’s at the heart of the internet itself: ease-of-access.

Remember the Harlem Shake?

Harlem Shake Before

Harlem Shake After - tumblr

It’s a rhetorical question because not only do you remember, you made one.

Looking back, the viral dance craze seems absurd. But at the time everyone from Russian soldiers to grandma was shakin’ their goods. Sure the first person to post the video probably followed the suggested guidelines of going viral: being current, using quality keywords and meta tags, and submission through multiple social channels. But then again, so does every wannabe content marketer.

The Harlem Shake went viral specifically because of the reason mentioned above: “everyone from Russian soldiers to grandma” could make it. It was simple. Easy to replicate. Relatable. Going viral depends on simplicity to recreate.

Now, straight off the heels of its acceptance as an actual word , the selfie is evolving. Go ahead and search for #SelfieOlympics. The three-quarter angle, mirror-reflected selfie is no longer the gem of Twitter’s eye. It’s all about taking your selfie game to the extreme. Now it’s about:

Adding props

https://twitter.com/SelfieOlympics/statuses/420247112295534593

Wearing costumes

https://twitter.com/SelfieOlympics/statuses/419912124450631680

Taking it to dangerous heights

https://twitter.com/SelfieOlympics/statuses/419937117997776897

Shooting in questionable poses

https://twitter.com/SelfieOlympics/statuses/419667760437014528

And the internet is eating it up.

In a couple months, whatever’s next will reveal itself on all our screens. But for now, the #SelfieOlympics is going viral in a big way.

And sorry to break the news to all the professional digital and content marketers, this is an example of how trends truly go viral. It happens organically. With no profitable motive. It can be a kid being creative. A pet owner taking an innocent cat picture. Or a goofy dance.

But above all else, it’s simple to understand and easy enough for even the most novice of internet users to repeat.