Massage & Bodywork

November/December 2013

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What is a hashtag? #confused By Abram Herman ABMP Social Media and Marketing Coordinator On social media, a hashtag is a pound sign (#) followed by one or more keywords (without spaces or punctuation) that is often added to a longer post as a quick summary of what the post is about. For example, a social media post about massage might include the hashtag #massagetherapy. WHEN WOULD I USE A HASHTAG? #CATEGORIZATION If a post is tagged #massagetherapy, you immediately know what it's about. And, what's more, you can find a whole list of other posts about the same topic by searching for, or clicking on, the #massagetherapy hashtag. On a site like Twitter, where users post more than 400 million tweets every day, hashtags help make content more searchable and useful. When used in this way, hashtags can be a good way to get your posts seen by others who share similar interests. HOW ELSE ARE HASHTAGS USED? #EXPRESSYOURSELF Hashtags have also become a unique part of Internet culture that allows users to provide a subtext for their comments. While not very useful for categorizing and searching when they're used this way, it's a creative way for users to express themselves. "I LOVE politics!" on its own conveys a very different meaning than "I LOVE politics! #mysuperpowerissarcasm." WHEN COULD A HASHTAG HELP ME? #INTHEKNOW Have you ever been at a conference and wondered if you picked the right session to take, or where everyone might be heading for dinner that night? A hashtag could keep you informed on both. You could choose to follow every conference attendee to get your answer (and then "unfollow" them later), or you could instead watch the conference hashtag (typically created by the conference host) for the latest scoop. You don't need to follow anyone in this instance—let the hashtag do the informing for you. WHO OWNS A HASHTAG? #SHARINGISCARING Once a hashtag is out there, anyone can use it. Make sure the hashtag you're using isn't already being used by someone else for anything unseemly, and don't be surprised if someone else co-opts your hashtag for their own purposes. Hashtags are universal for any given social network and are not unique to one user's account. That's why they work! DOES EVERY SITE USE HASHTAGS IN THE SAME WAY? #KNOWYOURAUDIENCE No. On Twitter you could use one or two relevant hashtags, but any more than that will take up a lot of room and look spammy. Facebook and Google+ are relative newcomers to the hashtag game, but it won't hurt to put in a few so that your posts are easier to find. On some sites, like Instagram and Pinterest, it's not uncommon for someone to turn #every #word #of #their #post #into #a #hashtag (which can be a bit much). Your best bet is to spend some time on each site and figure out the conventions on hashtag use for that specific audience. Massage & Bodywork Digital EXTRA november/december 2013

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