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Twitter Hashtags - Understand Their Value and How to Use Them

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What are Twitter hashtags? A common question received when individuals and businesses step into the world of Twitter, is what are hashtags? A hashtag is used to unite specific tweets about particular topics. It's a way of organizing or grouping tweets together. They are used to help tweeps (people who use Twitter) to find topics that are similar.

What does a hashtag look like?
It's the tweets you see that contain the "#" symbol plus a topic or word.  

An example that comes to mind is this evening, while watching American Idol, many tweeps gathered together and united their post by including the hashtags #americanidol and #idol. This enabled the hashtags to be searched and allowed Twitter users to follow the conversation of others on Twitter regarding the popular American Idol show. The same was true during the last presidential election.

Twitter Hashtag Resources
If you are interested in what topics are being talked about on Twitter, there are a few resources you can visit to gauge trending topics that are being discussed. These sites include:

Hashtags.org
I love Hashtags.org. It is extremely valuable when it comes to researching popular trends on Twitter. It provides you with information on how many messages were sent regarding a specific hashtag and within what time frame.

Twemes
Twemes is another popular site, because it provides you with information on what themes are floating across the Twitter cyberwaves. I've also found the RSS Feed feature to be extremely helpful when I want to follow a specific hashtag.

Wthashtag
Trying to find information on the history of a hashtag? Would you like more information about a particular hashtag on Twitter? Wthashtag is the place to go. It is a wiki tool that is generated by users that explains what a hashtag means, how you can use it, when it was first discovered, and a live stream of that hashtag. This is a great resource if you are doing research into specific hashtags.

Why Use Hashtags?
Hashtags can be useful when you want to create as well as monitor visibility on Twitter. This can be extremely beneficial when monitoring your company or your products. They can be used to categorize your Tweets according to topic or purpose. You will also find them used frequently when live-events are taking place and Tweeps have a desire to discuss with others; a prime example is a TV show like American Idol, as I mentioned above, an event, like the Grammy Awards, politicial campaigns, and even conferences.

Simply put, hashtags are a great way to organize Tweets and allow others to follow specific topics or events. Once you learn how to use them, you will wonder how you ever Tweeted without them.

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