Twitter hashtags for new users

February 27, 2010

This morning’s terrible and sad news about the huge earthquake in Chile made me regret not explaining Twitter “hashtags” in yesterday’s post about  Twitter-for-beginners.  If you are one of the many people trying to use  Twitter for the first time today to follow events in Chile, or related news about a possible tsunami in many parts of the Pacific,  you can follow the instructions at the end of that post and also try this: when you search,  just add a pound sign —  #  — before your search term, like this:  #chile  or #tsunami. You will get slightly different results using the hashtag than you will searching on just the word WITHOUT it ( “chile” or “tsunami”).   My advice is to try both searches –with and without  hashtags– to get the most complete overview of what Twitterers are saying about any particular topic.

Hashtags can be a bit confusing for new Twitter users:  They are a method that Twitterers themselves invented to make it easier to find and follow all the “tweets” about a particular topic.  But anyone can create one just by including it their own “tweet” and there’s no central place to  declare or register hashtags.  So don’t be surprised if the Twitter “stream” for any particular search term seems a bit cacophonous and sometimes completely off-topic.

Today’s key hashtag is, simply, #chile   and, if you read Spanish, #terremotochile

Filed under: iTools 101,social media

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