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!
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.