8 Tips on Using Twitter Hashtags

With more people joining Twitter every day, the number of people who simply don't understand how to tweet effectively is growing. One of the biggest offenses is the misuse of hashtags. I don't really have any pet peeves, but hashtags on Twitter are pushing it. Here are eight pieces of advice in regards to hashtags. Identities have been withheld to protect the ignorant.

1. Hashtags are meant as a way to categorize your tweets. A good example is during the National Hockey League Draft weekend, you'll see a hashtag like #NHLDraft, which allows hockey fans to search for other tweeting fans. Likewise, if you don't follow hockey and you're using a Twitter application like Tweetbot or Tweetdeck, you can filter out these tweets that are not relevant to your interests.

2. Rarely are your hashtags funny. Really.

3. If your tweets are private, no one can see your hashtags, so putting four in a single tweet is completely useless. It's also the quickest way for someone to skim over your tweet when catching up on their timeline. See number 6 for another tip on protected tweets.

4. There's not an instance I can think of that should require more than two hashtags in a tweet. If you have a legitimate tweet with more than two hashtags, it may be best served to separate it into two tweets.

5. There is no reason to hashtag something (with good intentions) that will never get searched for on Twitter. Save yourself the half second it takes to type command-3, I promise I will never search for related hashtags of a minor league hockey players last name.

6. If your tweets are private, and you legitimately want people to see your hashtags, re-evaluate why your tweets are protected. If you want Twitter to remain a small network of your personal friends, that's fine, just understand that no one is seeing your hashtags. If you're trying to promote your site or have a question, maybe making your tweets public and being conscious of presenting yourself in a favorable light is more beneficial.

7. I'm trying to think of a good example of a funny hashtag, and I can't. That should tell you something.

8. If you want to start using a hashtag for your business, project, or whatever else, make sure your followers understand what it is and why it matters. General hashtags are useless, they simply get used by too many unrelated people or organizations.

Hopefully that helps at least one person out there. While you're getting used to Twitter, you should go ahead and follow me here.

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