Twitter Hashtags and Groups with props to American Pai

Twitter Hashtags and Groups « American Pai
“As your list of friends grows on Twitter, the amount of messages that scroll across your screen increases exponentially. Pretty soon it becomes impossible to catch messages directed your way in real-time. Ultimately you have to resort to backtracking or using a search tool like TweetScan (R.I.P Terraminds!). Increasingly members of the Twitter community are demanding better ways to filter and group all of this information. One of the new solutions has been Twitter Hashtags and channels.”

Yes, Twitter Hashtags are becoming more widely adopted. I have used them more often, especially for tweets regarding Austin, where I vacationed.  Hashtags is a site that tracks the use of the # symbol in Twitter posts. It’s really that simple but that one act provides a wonderful opportunity. That’s the opportunity to follow all of the posts about a specific # tag.

In my case, I tagged posts with #Austin where I provided links to pictures and blog posts, even people.  At the outset one might think there is little extra value here so far.  Hashtags turns that into tweets that users can subscribe to.

Now a user can go beyond following real life friends without having to add lots of strangers on Twitter.  Hashtag will send those tweets with the # tag, say #Austin, right to your door Twitter box.

So this sounds great right? There are downsides though.

1) # tags interrupt the conversation – yes, as they are still new, when used, followers may inquire about their use and the conversation strays; the tags also interrupt literally by breaking up the flow of words and letters.  Several of my followers have actually complained to me.

2) #tags are seen as link bait – because the tags intended purpose is to allow Twitter messages to be found by engines such as Hashtags, your Twitter buddies might feel put off that your post is more to draw attention to you and your links than be real conversation.  This is a valid concern in my opinion. I’ve already seen that use where no attempt is made to engage others.  Those tweets stand out often by a lack of any other text in the message.

3) #tags waste space – and there’s a shortage of that built right into Twitter. This is probably the most reasonable argument against their use. Paisano and others agree that it’s time for Twitter to bring on tagging outside the message.

I’ll keep using # tags for now, but only where it really serves a purpose.  Already evident is the use of the # even when the post has no intrinsic value about the tagged word.

What will you do? Use them? Abuse them? Ignore them? Drop your friends that use them?  What will come next? Are you working on the next best thing for Twitter?


2 Responses to “Twitter Hashtags and Groups with props to American Pai”

  1. 1 Paisano April 5, 2008 at 3:07 pm

    Excellent additional information to the subject matter of hashtags.
    Great examples of the best ways to use it and good points about the ways that some people are already exploiting it for personal gain. There are always going to be those types of people who will asuse tools and technology for selfish reasons. I’m hoping safety measures will be implemented to limit the damage this behavior has on the perception of what should be a positive tool for us all.
    Thanks for adding more knowledge to the subject.

    Your friend

  2. 2 tojosan April 5, 2008 at 3:26 pm

    Thanks for dropping by my friend. Your post really got me thinking about the subject, and so I owe it to you.

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