*Disclaimer: I like #hashtags. I use #hashtags. Sometimes I use #hashtags wrong. I make up my own funny hashtags. I even use them in text messages and in emails. I am not a perfect hashtagger. Now on to the point.
Recently I have been seeing a increasingly large number of tweets with messages that look something like this:
New Blog post http://www.fakelinkhere #real estate #finance #California #agents #business #2010 #ioverusemyhastags #ijustcan’tstopusinghashtags #more #more
What is that all about? It’s like #Severe #Hashtag #Disorder #Syndrome. When I read a tweet composed primarily of hashtags, it is like reading an email in capitals. If you don’t understand what a hashtag is, Hal explains them in this post about Twitter Basics. Hashtags are used in conversations on Twitter as “a way of organizing discussion topics to make them easier to find. Putting that pound sign in front of a term makes that term an easily searchable topic.”
Hashtags are helpful for others to follow along with discussions about an event or topic but I believe there is a line between making a tweet easily found and what I would call “hashtag stuffing”.
I am seeing this in two forms. One is the typical event hashtag spammer who repeatedly uses the event hashtag for unrelated tweets. It’s like spam via twitter. I find these highly annoying and I am unlikely to ever use the product or service being mentioned by the spammer. These are intentional spam and not really worth much effort or concern on my part. Moving on.
The second form is what I am actually referring to in the post. These are businesses and individuals aren’t intentionally trying to use hashtags to spam a group of people but who may not realize that their use of hashtags could potentially make their tweet unreadable and appear to be hashtag stuffing for the sole purpose of getting found in twitter searches. If your goal in using social networks is to have conversations, establish relationships, and build trust with potential, current and past customers, “hashtag stuffing” may hinder you from achieving your goal by turning off potential readers from conversing with you. When I see a tweet primarily composed with hashtags, my perception is that you don’t want to talk to me.
Is the hashtag relevant to your tweet? Do you still have a clear message or is your message solely to be intended in the searches for the discussion or event of the hashtag you are using? These are questions you may want to consider when using hashtags in your tweets.
I am curious if others feel the same way. What do you think? Do you think hashtags are overused?