What is a #Hashtag Anyway?

If you’re a beginning social media user, you may have bumped into this weird symbol:

That symbol, commonly known as a pound or number sign, is now known in the social media world as a hashtag.  It was originally made popular via twitter, but has gained popularity through many other social media programs like instagram, facebook, and google+.

A hashtag is a means of categorizing a conversation.  Think of it like a folder, except each item can be placed in multiple folders by applying multiple hashtags.  In programs like twitter, placing a hashtag allows you to join a conversation or track one that is already in progress.  It also ensures that whatever you have written will be read by others interested in the same hashtag.

For example, if you write a twitter post that may be of interest to your colleagues, you might want to use the #ltps hashtag. All you need to do is type “#ltps” anywhere in your tweet and anyone following the #ltps hashtag will read your message.  Always using that same hashtag will ensure that you stay in that conversation. 

Hashtags can be temporary – as in a hasthag for a specific education conference – or they can be permanent.

And you can make a new hashtag any time you want!  Make one for your classroom or for a particular lesson plan.

My favorite hashtags to follow are #edchat, #edtech, and #libchat.  There’s a hashtag for every hobby and profession though, so give it a try!


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