Understanding the Hash or Pound Sign in Twitter

By | January 22, 2009

A friend sent me a direct message on Twitter earlier to ask me why people on Twitter use the hash sign (or pound sign) in their tweets. There are tons of new users joining Twitter daily, according to Compete.com the number is growing by 27.6% monthly!

Twitter growth

Fundamentally, Twitter is simple to use, however there is a learning curve. Here’s a quick explanation of the #, also known as hashtagging.

Basically it creates an easy way to track topics. For example, recently everyone who was talking about the Obama inauguration were using #inaug09. This way you could search for this to follow the conversation.

The easy way to track hashtags is to use Twitter Search (you will likely see hashtags as trending topics below the search window). Choose Advanced Search, then scroll down to “This hashtag” and enter the tag you’re searching for. You may also want to use this function to search for an idea you have to start your own hashtag, to be sure someone else isn’t already using it.

I highly recommend you use TweetDeck. In TweetDeck you can create a Global search for the hashtag and follow it in real time.

I’ve written a fair amount about Twitter, you may be interested in checking out these posts too.

I hope this helps. Feel free to add any comments, suggestions or questions.

Enjoy it? Please share it.

  • http://www.myspace.com/indigoorphan Sailor Scott

    thanks. I'm all #clear now… :0)

  • http://www.davemadethat.com Dave Delaney

    Happy to help. Thanks for the inspiration for the post.

  • http://myspace.com/jimhall JIm

    Great description, thanks. It looks like this is going to be a two word phrase though. (hash tag)

  • http://aiyeknight.com/blog/ Aiye Knight

    yup, I'm also clear about the Hash or Pound concept. Thank you very much. I will also take a closer look at the TweetDeck again. There are so many tools out there. One must limit themselves to trying them all or they'll never get any work done.

    Bye now.
    Cheerio

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  • http://eelixir.com Jami

    Very helpful article! I'm pretty new on twitter still and I need more instruction. I'm going to use your suggestion and get on Tweetdeck for my own hashtag.

  • http://www.davemadethat.com Dave Delaney

    Great to hear I helped you. Thanks for letting me know. If you need
    more help please let me know.

    Cheers
    Dave

    Poor spelling and extreme brevity brought to you by iPhone.

    http://www.davemadethat.com

  • contactususa

    quick and simple to understand, thanks for making this easy for me :D
    Found a site called monitter.com and seen all these #words whizzing by and wondered what they are for…
    thanks again Dave

  • http://www.davemadethat.com Dave Delaney

    Happy to help! Thanks for your comment.

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  • sarahfennema

    Thanks Dave! I'm new to Twitter as a marketing tool and found this very helpful.

  • http://www.davemadethat.com Dave Delaney

    Thanks Sarah. I'm happy I could help you.

    Are you enjoying Twitter?

  • http://www.sarahfennema.com sarahfennema

    Its still pretty new to me, but I'm having a feeling I'm certainly going to
    enjoy it!

  • http://www.davemadethat.com Dave Delaney

    Cool. Have fun.

  • http://j.modjeska.us/ Jeremy

    Got it. Not a twitter user myself but I see this all the time on Facebook. Does that tie in somehow with Twitter or are people just doing it out of habit?

  • http://www.davemadethat.com Dave Delaney

    Many people tie their Twitter feeds with their Facebook profiles
    (including myself).

    That's why you're seeing the hastag in FB so much.

    D

  • http://ka-chow.org/ Vian

    Thanks. Helped, and it was easy to understand and straight forward.

  • http://www.davemadethat.com Dave Delaney

    Great, thanks for letting me know.

  • Flávio Amaral

    Thank you very much. :)

  • Diana

    Thanks for explaining this. I have started seeing it on FaceBook and thought maybe it was a stand-in for a bad word (an abridged #!@*). Glad I didn't start using it as such. :)

  • http://www.davemadethat.com Dave Delaney

    Glad it helped. Thanks.

  • Trophy79

    This was a great piece . To the point and informative abt this Twitter phenomena.

  • FranzMuller

    There has to be someone to help with enlightment for people like me that have no clue about programming and stuff.
    ______________________________________________________________
    Custom Made Signs

  • http://www.davemadethat.com Dave Delaney

    I'm happy to help!

  • FranzMuller

    There has to be someone to help with enlightment for people like me that have no clue about programming and stuff.
    ______________________________________________________________
    Custom Made Signs

  • http://www.davemadethat.com Dave Delaney

    I'm happy to help!

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  • guest25

    you uck im still confused….dooooooors

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  • Rachelle_sanders

    Very helpful, I now am completely informed about how to use twitter! Thanks!

  • http://www.davemadethat.com Dave Delaney

    Thanks so much Rachelle. How did you find my post?

  • http://twitter.com/BeaumontTXChess Jay Kuykendall

    What about two words tagged?  Would it be like this: #”Two Words”?

  • http://www.davemadethat.com Dave Delaney

    No, it’s best to do that as one word, no spaces.

    #twowords

    I there is a space, the hashtag won’t be clickable.

  • http://twitter.com/BeaumontTXChess Jay Kuykendall

    I kind of figured that, because I kept seeing two words combined.  Thanks for responding though!

  • http://twitter.com/BeaumontTXChess Jay Kuykendall

    I kind of figured that, because I kept seeing two words combined.  Thanks for responding though!

  • http://www.davemadethat.com Dave Delaney

    Approved

  • justwondering

    But how about on Facebook, I see this pattern used in FB all the time even if it was not from Twitter. Also, it is not clickable. Is it just an adaptation of the Twitter way?

  • http://www.davedelaney.me/ Dave Delaney

    The reason why you see hashtags in Facebook status updates is because they are actually tweets. Many people post their tweets to Twitter and Facebook at the same time.
    I do this too, but I never post all of my tweets to FB. That would annoy my friends. I use a Facebook app called Selective Tweets to do this. I then include #fb in my tweet to make it appear on FB too.
    I hope this helps.