With upwards of 20 clients who all have very active Twitters that we help run, it seems that often we find ourselves dreaming hashtags. Our addiction is simple; we:

  • can’t leave our Crowdbooster or Hootsuite for a minute
  • use the @ symbol in everyday conversation
  • wish we could “bit.ly” conversations in real life like you can do with long URLs

This addiction has its benefits– we know Twitter very well!

Recently, Tellem Worldwide Partner Dan Grody along with some other social media experts were asked by ProfNet, a division of PR Newswire, to contribute to the “Dear Gracie” Q&A section about the mystery of the Twitter hashtag.

Ms. Hung Up On Hashtags wrote in to the column:

I’m an amateur Twitter user, and it’s not clear to me how and why I should use #hashtags. Since I can search for keywords on Twitter, I don’t understand what the difference is. What purpose do they serve? And is there a wrong way to use them? Sometimes I see really long hashtags — what’s the point?

Dan emphasized that you must think of hashtags as discussion topics and explained that they are beneficial to users because hashtag topics are easily searched on Twitter and collected and presented to you in one stream. He also included some tips on what to avoid, like mixed-in-to-hashtag symbols and using trending-topic hashtags just for exposure. Dan also explained that buying a promoted hashtag on Twitter defeats the purpose of the service.

Hashtags are one of the most misunderstood aspects of Twitter and hopefully this will help curb abuse. Check out the full Q&A article here.

Do you think the column left out anything important about hashtags?

-Andy TWW