Do You Hashtag

Kyle Reed // @kylereed

Hashtags are a mystery to me.

As twitter defines a hashtag:

The # symbol, called a hashtag, is used to mark keywords or topics in a Tweet. It was created organically by Twitter users as a way to categorize messages

Twitter gives the use for a hashtag as well:

People use the hashtag symbol # before relevant keywords in their Tweet to categorize those Tweets to show more easily in Twitter Search

The reason for the mystery is not the meaning of what a hashtag is or even what it is about, but how people use hashtags. I have decided today to run some sort of thrown together experiment of finding out exactly how powerful, meaningful, and necessary a hashtag really is.

Now I know at conferences a lot of people find them very valuable, I know I do. But outside of a conference how often do you find yourself looking at hashtags? I see a lot of people use a ton of hashtags to try and make a joke, make a point, or just tag their material but I wonder what the return on this tagging does for the tweet.

So it is your turn to let us all know. Answer these questions below to join in on this little experiment/survey:

You follow hashtags?
You use hashtags in the way described above (make a joke, make a point, or just tag their material) if yes, have you seen any benefit in using a hashtag in this manner?
The point of a hashtag to you is?


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Kyle Reed

Posts Twitter

I create websites, conversations, and ideas. Advocate for the 20 somethings. Looking to connect everyone to a mentor. Married to my best friend, Ginny. I like my coffee black and my dog Jack. I currently live in Nashville and work at Sony Music/Provident in Nashville
  • Julie Kolb

    I don’t use hashtags in the way they were intended..I use it solely to highlight the purpose of my thought..I could use a * but then it wouldn’t show up in a pretty, different color, so I use the #..I live in my own little twitter world..Dare to be different..ha!

  • Jordan Watson


    I am a fan of hastags. I am not a fan of how people typically use hastags. Most people seem to use hastags day-to-day for jokes or to finish a sentence. I’ve often wondered. Why do people think that finishing the joke in a hashtag makes it funnier? So I’m not a fan of how people use them.

    BUT. I think they can function in three important ways. First, recently I have been following the #Egypt hashtag and #Jan25 hastag and have read some amazing tweets about the events in Egypt. Hastags like this are a reflection of something important that is happening in our world. It is great to have a forum that can streamline the thoughts of humanity.
    Second, like you said I think they are extremely important to unite people through social media at events or conferences. This furthers the discussion from the stage and allows people to interact with each other and even the speakers.
    Thirdly, I think hastags have great potential to spark movements. Last year I experimented with using hastags for week long movements. Like #givingweek and #listeningweek. I remember you joined in on #givingweek. The hastag may not end up as featured on the side of twitter because I do not have 25,000 followers, but it was a powerful way to unite a movement of about 20 people for that week.

    Thanks for asking this question. I think many people are missing the potential that is the hashtag. I look forward to your experiments today.

  • Dustin

    I guess I use them to highlight a conference, highlight my city (#ATL) and sports team (#falcons, #dawgs), or make some sort of joke…

  • Tyler

    1. No
    2. No
    3. Clutter. The real problem with the hashtag is that while it may bring a relevant subject to light it brings with it a host of uninformed, or useless opinions on said subject. There’s no way to filter out the good from the bad, the fact from opinion, or the honest response to the ironic one. So what you end up with is clutter. I suppose it’s not all bad – maybe it can help notify us of a subject that we could read about on a site a bit more organized.

  • Jenny

    I use hashtags. I follow them in pursuit of interesting material, and sometimes I’ll click just to see see what I will find.

    I am normally the hashtag user you described. I use it to make a joke, point, or just because something “hashtagable” pops in my head and makes me smirk. A lovely friend of mine actually texts using hashtags now, I am more prone to use them with her than to use them by myself.

    Have I seen a benefit? no. I honestly can’t really tell you why i use them other than it’s a random thing, much more explain their purpose. Could i do away with them ? Perhaps…

  • Ben

    -I’ve used it in all manners, equally. I don’t discriminate on hashtag usage…

  • Jeff Goins

    Hashtags — for me — are both fun and serious. On the fun side, I’ll use them to share a mood (e.g. #frustrated). On the serious side, I find them legitimately useful for gatherings and discussion topics (e.g. #recreate11 – a conference I’m attending next week).

    It took me a LONG time to catch on to them, though.

  • Michael

    I’m guilty of using them in a stupid way. But reading Jordan’s response, I doubt I do that anymore. I like it when people use them for events like #Cat10. But I can’t stand when someone tweets a link to a blog and it looks like this: #blogs #awesome #Christian #leadership #blogging

    That’s really lame

    • Jordan Watson


      I unfollow people that do that consistently. I follow people that share their work as well as the work of others that have influenced them.

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  • Anita

    I started out not using hashtags at all, then I found a community of people who struggle with some of the same health issues I have, and started tagging my tweets that related to those issues. I feel a sense of community with everyone using those hashtags and enjoy sharing my chronic illness humor with people who really get it.

    Since then, I’ve moved on to becoming a “common hashtagger” who uses hashtags regularly, usually because I think it makes a tweet funnier, though after reading these comments, I guess I could be sadly mistaken on that note. But I do enjoy clicking on random hashtags just to see what people are saying about, say #starbucks, or #peoplewatching.

    I think the point of a hashtag is to link people who talk about similar things. I’ve had some interesting discussions following hashtags and ended up with great new Twitter friends because of them. So I’m a fan.

  • Jonathan Pearson

    I’ve never followed a hashtag. I don’t usually use them because I don’t know which to use… haha

  • Shelby

    I have only followed two hashtags ever, #passion2011 and when a friend as having a baby we were giving/getting updates using #babybella

    I do use them occasionally to make a joke… the benefit is I think its funny. I know some think its pointless to do that but It doesn’t bother me, I think its funny, I post it. If it bugs them, they can use that magical button to stop following me lol