Hashtag is a mashup of “hash” and “tag.” (Hash refers to the # symbol. Tag is the computer system lingo referring to a keyword or term.) They are composed of a pound sign (#), a keyword or keywords, and no spaces.

A hashtag is used to unite specific tweets about particular topics. It’s a way to organize or group together tweets. It becomes part of an overall online conversation.

Currently, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest are the only platforms supporting the use of hashtags. Checking the “Trending Topics” on Twitter is the easiest method of getting your tweets in front of the eyes of potentially thousands of people. Facebook, however, is still working on incorporating the hashtag.

Other things to know:

  • Hashtags can start anywhere in a tweet.
  • Hashtagged words that become popular are often Trending Topics on Twitter.
  • Hashtags can help save space. With Twitter’s 140 character max, one or two hashtags can convey a longer message.
  • Twitter suggests not using more than 2 hashtags per tweet.
  • They are often used for promotion or to support a trend.
  • Television shows often have an official hashtag associated with their show. (#DuckDynasty, #DWTS, #Glee are just a few examples.) Curious fans are often compelled to look up the hashtag and join the conversation.

Simply Tweeting “Jase from Duck Dynasty cracks me up!” would allow the tweet to be viewed by your followers. Tweeting “Jase from #DuckDynasty cracks me up!” allows the tweet to be viewed by your followers and anyone who uses/follows the hashtag #DuckDynasty.