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A hashtag is a keyword used by Twitter users to indicate a topic of their Tweet. For example, the hashtag #contentmarketing added to a Tweet can help others interested in the topic find this Tweet and others related to it.
A number of Twitter chats also use hashtags so users can follow the conversation without actually having to follow everyone participating in the chat. Some Twitter chats have thousands of participants.
A few chats are:
#blogchat – Sunday evenings. Discusses blogging–related topics.
#contentchat – Monday afternoon. Discusses content-related topics.
#mmchat – Monday evenings. This stands for Monday Marketer Chat. Discusses topics around marketing. (Note: Christoph Trappe discussed Content Marketing on a Shoestring on this chat in early 2014. Click here to read the transcript.)
#mobilechat – Mobile topics.
Anyone can participate in Twitter chats. Some have loose rules. We have found chats to be very educational and have connected to new friends through them. If a participant is particularly interesting to you, be sure to follow them to stay connected.
Content marketing expert Amanda Henson calls a Twitter Chat a Twitter Party.
Hashtags are also often used at conferences or other live events. The hashtags allows attendees and people who couldn’t make it to exchange ideas and even share what was mentioned at the event.
Keep in mind that if your Twitter account is protected (private) only those you have approved as followers can see your Tweets – hashtag or no hashtag.
Even without a hashtag Twitter can still be searched for any word in a Tweet. To do that go to search.Twitter.com.
In 2013, Facebook also announced that it would now structure discussions around hashtags.
Some communicators have opined that hashtags are ugly and don’t add much. At the very least, some opine, don’t use more than three in one Tweet.
Keep in mind that hashtags count against the 140 characters allowed in a Tweet. When in doubt, we suggest cutting the hashtag for other more meaningful and relevant content. However, don’t cut the hashtag while participating in a Twitter chat. Other participants won’t be able to see your note.