The Word “HashTag” Is Not To Be Said Out Loud In Everyday Conversation (As Explained To Me By My 12 Year Old)

images#ToHashTag Or   #NotToHashTag ???
Unless you are in the online tech industry, then you’ve probably got some confusion as to exactly what a hashtag (#) is and how to use it.
I’ll teach you the nuts and bolts of what you need to know in this post, but first, check out this quick video.
It’s from September of 2013.  For those of you #SNL fans (Saturday Night Live) Justin Timberlake is known to stop by and make frequent cameo appearances on the show as he is good friends with many members of the cast, past and present (not to mention Lorne Michaels).
So, it’s no surprise that he’d inevitably show up as a guest on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.

HAHAHAHA.  #CracksMeUp
So, WHAT exactly is a hashtag?
definition-of-hashtagSimply put, a hashtag is the “#” hash symbol preceding any word or unspaced phrase.
A couple of examples would be:   #blogging   or   #ThisPostIsAwesome .
By adding “#” before the word  -or a spaceless group of words – I immediately turn my word or phrase into a clickable link on most social media sites. I can search and sort through any other posts, tweets, etc with the same (or any) hashtag.
#JeSuisCharlieSo, why would you want to use it?
Well, think of it as a simple way to categorize or organize things, thoughts, tweets, posts, & threads that have a common topic in the online world.  For example, did you know that just recently #JeSuisCharlie was one of the most popular all time hashtags in the history of hashtags (meaning since the creation of Twitter) ?
It was a tag people around the world added to their posts and tweets to show their solidarity for the victims of the Paris outrage.  It was tweeted 6,500 times a minute and featured in 3.4 million tweets in just one 24 hour period.
Iconshock-Real-Vista-Project-Managment-Task-notesA hashtag, when used and/or promoted by enough people can “trend” thereby garnering even more attention…  even more shares…  even more discussion.  
You don’t have to do anything to create one.  Just add the hash symbol before your word or phrase and remember – no spaces.   And you can search them from virtually any social media platform.
Note:  Originally #hashtags were used exclusively on Twitter, however now they’re widely used on other social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, & Pinterest
If you want to research one, is a great place to start.
Now that I’ve covered the what and why, let me address the when.
Obviously, a hashtag is ideal when the subject you’re talking about already has an established hashtag.  
Make sense?  There’s not a better time of year to talk about #SuperBowl2015 and to use hashtags around the #SuperBowl than right now. (PS If you’re reading this post from the future, I apologize for an un-current reference, but you get the picture…)
You can use hashtags to promote, praise or raise awareness about someone or something. 
SO, here was the whole inspiration behind this blog post.
I was having a conversation with my 12 year old about the weather affected our cable and subsequently the internet and during our conversation I said out loud “hashtag first world problems” to which he promptly responded that the word “hashtag” was not to be said out loud.
So, courtesy of Noah (and a little research) I present to you 7 Rules of Hashtag Etiquette  ( #7Rules )
1.) It is acceptable to use your Hashtag anywhere in your sentence and/or post.
~ Before the sentence  
Ex:  ” #SuperBowlXLIX   Just got my tickets to Phoenix for the Super Bowl. “
~ As a part of the sentence  
Ex:  ” Can’t Wait for #SuperBowlXLIX and some stadium food! “
~ After the sentence
Ex:  ” Stoked!  Just got my tickets to Phoenix for the Super Bowl!   #SuperBowlXLIX
2.) Hashtags are not case sensitive, so #GoForIt .  
#whichoneiseasiertoread    #WhichOneIsEasierToRead  
You tell me.
3.) Abbreviations are OK.
Sex And The City  –  #SATC
Charleston Basket Brigade  –  #CBB
#TGIF,  #TBT,  #WTF   ……….all good
4.) If you’re doing something to promote your brand, be careful.  Hashtags can be hijacked by the masses at any time.  
Example #1:  #QantasLuxury
Qantas created a contest in which they asked their clients to describe their “dream luxury inflight experience”, in return for a pair of Qantas pajamas and a toiletries kit, only to have users flood the initiative with negative comments.
Using the #QantasLuxury hashtag,  thousands of users quickly captured the discussion with disparaging comments over the recent shutdown and the airline’s intransigence with unions.
enhanced-buzz-21822-1346888012-4Example #2:  #McDStories
In January of 2012 McDonald’s launched a Twitter campaign using the hashtag #McDStories in the hopes that the campaign would inspire heart-warming stories. Instead, it provided McDonald’s detractors with a platform to use it to share their #HorrorStories.
Chrysler drops the F bomb
5.) Don’t swear. Check out this tweet when Chrysler dropped the F bomb.
6.) Brevity is Best.
Or so they say and if your outcome is to use hashtags to help improve your SEO, then by all means simpler is better.
However, the #Hashtag has become a part of our culture.  It’s how we express ourselves.  It’s who we are.  It’s how we’re feeling.
#WhatPartOfShortAndSweetDidYouNotUnderstand or #HavingABadHairDay
It’s not that I actually expect that anyone is going to go and search for “Having A Bad Hair Day”, but there’s something very real in that…  Something raw… Something in the moment…   It’s truthful. I love it! It amuses me.
So, I say, go ahead…  #HashTagYourHeartOut
And, lastly (drumroll, please………)
7.)  Don’t use the word “hashtag” in everyday conversation.
What about you?  Seen any good hashtags lately?
Got any additional distinctions to add.  As always, I’d love to hear from ya.

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