#HASHTAG

Every single time I read a hashtag, I have this Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake skit from the Late Night with Jimmy Fallon show stuck in my head. They did a good job at showing us how silly we sound with an excessive use of hashtags, reading out what could really be some Twitter feeds.

The beloved (and often misunderstood) hashtag was created by Twitter, who defines it as being “used to mark keywords or topics in a Tweet […] as a way to categorize messages”. Other social networks like Instagram and Facebook have jumped on the bandwagon and followed suit, further spreading the epidemic of #badhashtags.

Here are some quick rules to keep in mind for effective hashtag use (and to avoid sounding like Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake on the internet):

  • Hashtags should be used like parsley: sprinkle them lightly, but don’t let them bombard. Twitter suggests using 2 per post, but the rule of thumb is usually no more than 3. This rule can be broken with Instagram, but make sure the tagging is relevant to the content and not overdone (ex. do not tag a selfie as #foodporn).
  • Use them to join a conversation or create your own stream, not to go wild in hopes of getting a few more likes.
  • The shorter, the better (and more effective), especially with Twitter’s character limit.
  • #Do #not #tag #every #word #in #a #sentence. This is basic!

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