What is a #hashtag?

What is a hash tag?

Most social networks, many knowledge databases and other websites and programs now use the hashtag, which starts with the pound sign #. How to use it and why it is quite handy is explained in this article.

A hashtag is a keyword or keyword

I think the first network to introduce hashtags and mainstream them was the short messaging service Twitter. There, a hashtag is basically a search term that you can click on.

A hashtag is a search term that begins with a hash and when clicked leads to a search for the corresponding hashtag word.

Hashtags with the # character are used on social networks such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, but also in many programs in which, among other things, texts can be provided with tags – i.e. keywords.

Why is it called "Hashtag"?

The term "hashtag" is a word creation, which uses the words "hash" and "tag" in English. “hash” stands for hash or hash and “tag” for a marking. In a way, it is a word mark with the double cross.

Hashtags are no longer only found online. Although they make little sense in the real world, they are used to convey brief information (Photo: Gary Butterfield/Unsplash).
Hashtags are no longer only found online. Although they make little sense in the real world, they are used to convey brief information (Photo: Gary Butterfield/Unsplash).

How hashtags are used

In practice, a hashtag is rarely used directly in a text, but hashtags that match the message or the text are entered directly after the text. For example, on Twitter this could look like this:

Sir Apfelot is a handy blog providing Apple news and help articles for Apple devices. #apple #blog #ipad #iphone #help

So, you add a series of relevant hashtags at the end of the tweet so that the message shows up in the hashtag's corresponding search pages.

If a visitor enters one of the hashtags as a search term on Twitter or another service where this message was published, the message will be thrown there.

According to this principle, Twitter works just like Instagram or Facebook. On Instagram, you add text and hashtags to your pictures so that they are listed with the tags.

Hashtags as a collection point for actions

Instead of just using hashtags as search terms, people and companies are increasingly using them to publicize certain actions. For example, Apple has the hashtag #shotoniphone Introduced to allow users to tag photos taken with an iPhone.

Photos taken with an Apple iPhione should be tagged with the hashtag #shotoniphone – but it cannot be checked whether this is the case.
The hashtag #shotoniphone is supposed to be used to tag photos taken with an Apple iPhone – but it is not possible to check whether this is the case.

Also other actions like #Thank you Wieler can be found on social media. On Twitter, for example, messages are provided with this hashtag that refer to the discussion between the FDP and the RKI boss Wieler.

A viral spread of hashtags is also not uncommon. This is how the hashtag became very often after the Harvey Weinstein scandal #metoo used. Search for the hashtag on Twitter #metoo, one finds a great deal of news relating to the subject of the scandal.

I find the hashtag #haltdiefressebild particularly appropriate.
I find the hashtag #haltdiefressebild particularly appropriate.

No spaces in hashtags

A hashtag consists of the hash sign and a sequence of alphanumeric characters.

What you don't find in hashtags are spaces. The programming of most portals assumes that after the #-Sign comes a word separated from the next by a space. Because of this, a hashtag itself cannot contain a space. Punctuation marks are also not used in hashtags.

How can I use hashtags?

When browsing a website that supports hashtags, you can use them to quickly find news related to your interests.

If you publish a message yourself, you can enrich it with appropriate hashtags and thus ensure that it reaches the appropriate reader group. In this case, you have to remember to place the pound sign # in front of the keyword so that the portal recognizes the word as a hashtag and links it.

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2 comments on “What is a #hashtag?”

  1. Very good idea to explain terms from the online world in between. Keep it up. Even though I was already surfing the net before the WWW existed, I like to read something like this and can check whether I've stayed up to date, or sometimes I can learn something new.

    Also very good: The article about Notion and how it changed your data life. That's exactly what happened to me about a year ago.

    Except for Sir Apfellot and MacGadget, there really aren't any likeable Apple blogs with a personal style and commitment. Let me teach you, if someone knows a really competent site.

    Hope it goes on like this for a long time!

    1. Hello Lutz! Your comment makes me very happy. Mainly because you like the personal style. I also find it much nicer with blogs when I learn a bit about the writer and his opinion. I didn't add much personal information to hashtag articles, but I also thought that the articles were of no interest to my regular readers. That's why I've always backdated them. 😊 But nice if you like something in between. I still have a few of these on my to-do list and throw in one every now and then. 😊

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