“Overuse of hashtags is spam at it worst.”
In case you didn’t know, putting # in front of a word turns it into a hashtag—a searchable, linkable, followable stream of Tweets. It doesn’t have to be an official hashtag to become one the moment you put a # in front of a word or phrase—no spaces between, of course!
If you want to serve others on Twitter, you’ll use hashtags carefully.
Hashtags can be fun. Especially when you make them up. #latenight #notenoughcoffee #procrastinatorsunitelater And it’s totally okay to have fun with hashtags with your friends. But the purpose of hashtags is to join conversations through selective, relevant Tweets.
When I’m sharing a link about DIY business cards, I share it with the #Allume hashtag because I know my Allume friends will be needing to make or buy business cards soon. But I don’t spam the #Allume hashtag with every single post I write.
When I have a question about WordPress, I ask it in the #WordPress or #savvyblogging hashtag. If I find a great post on blogging, I’ll share it in the #savvyblogging hashtag. But I try not to spam those hashtags if I want to maintain respect within them and receive help from them.
Cluttering your Tweet with hashtags every other word not only obscures what you’re actually trying to say, but it makes your Tweet look like spam.
A general rule of thumb is to never use more than two hashtags per Tweet. If you must Tweet a link or quote to three or four different hashtags, it’s best to compose separate Tweets for each hashtag and spread them out throughout the day or week.
In Twitter for Good: Change the World One Tweet at a Time, Claire Diaz-Ortiz (@claire) discusses the power of hashtags, and gives a few reminders:
- Use carefully chosen hashtags.
- Be relevant in the hashtags that you use.
- Understand the context of those hashtags.
- Avoid using overly general words as hashtags.
Which hashtags do you use most frequently? What’s the best made-up hashtag you’ve seen?
- “Too Many Hashtags” on designspike.net
- “A Quick #Hashtag Lesson” from likeable.com
- Tweets, @’s, RT’s, #FF, and more