Hashtags coming out of the mouth of a bird

Is Hashtag Becoming a Dirty Word?

According to one New York Times Social Media Editor, hashtags aren’t helping you gain more readers and could even be ‘harmful” to your online content.

This is where all social media users ‘gasp’ in horror, including myself.

I will admit, I don’t tend to hold back when using hashtags, in fact, I find them a great way to use creativity to stand apart from every other social media user and brand online. But yes, I can see how #yougoglencoco can get annoying and irrelevant after a while.

But recently the #hashtag has come under fire for not adding relevancy to your online content, but adding ‘baggage’ that could be potentially ‘damaging’ to your online reputation.

There is another supporter of the hashtag in my corner, also known as Twitter, that reported over 3 million tweets of the #SuperBowl in a five hour time period, during this past year’s game.

Hashtags also allow social marketers to track online mentions for analytics, and separate themselves from an endless sea of 140 character updates, that can sometimes seem impossible.

There is also the issue of performing a hashtag search on Twitter. What displays are the “top” tweets from Twitter’s big wigs and/or uses of the word without the former number sign altogether. For example, if you search for #digitalmedia, you will more than likely also end up with search results that include the words digital and media, without a hashtag.

This information may not only be relevant, it also raises the important question of how are you suppose to stand out from the school to attract the average Twitter user? For all we know our efforts could fruitless. So those of you tagging your blog about mobile media with #kittens are not geniuses after all.

But lets be honest, hashtags are a great way to reach smaller groups of people. Attendees at conferences are encouraged to use the same hashtag, #NSD2013, #internetsummit and #SXWX are effective at connecting the people attending.

The bottom line is that when used correctly, hashtags are useful tools. But when overused and under appreciated, they become a tiny fish in that big sea of tweets.