This post, by Joel Lee, originally appeared on makeuseof on 3/16/12.
Are you late to the social networking party? No worries. It took me a long time to get into the whole social networking thing, but I’m glad I did. It’s definitely been a beneficial experience.
Although Facebook continues to defend its position as the most popular social networking platform, you shouldn’t focus all of your attention there. As they say, don’t keep all your eggs in one basket. Where else can you go? Twitter! Twitter is a great resource for social networking, but especially so for writers. By taking advantage of hashtags, you can separate the useless and boring tweets from the ones that are interesting and pertinent.
What Are Hashtags?
Have you ever seen a tweet include a word or phrase preceded by a pound sign? For example, a few months ago, Charlie Sheen’s #winning hashtag went viral. It’s called a hashtag because the ‘#’ is sometimes called a ‘hash,’ and using hashtags is a way for you to insert searchable tags and keywords into your tweets.
There are thousands of different hashtags floating around the Twitterverse. Many of them are important and useful, and many more of them are absolutely meaningless. Why? Because anyone can make up a hashtag. A hashtag only becomes meaningful when a large number of Twitter users give it meaning.
If you ever encounter a hashtag that you’ve never seen before, use TagDef to look it up. You’ll likely find a definition posted there unless the hashtag is obscure. In that case, you probably won’t even want to know what it means.
Twitter Hashtags For Writers
#amwriting / #amediting – Of all the Twitter hashtags that could possibly be relevant for writers, these two blow every other out of the water. Both #amwriting and #amediting are Twitter “chat” hashtags and you’re welcome to join in at any time. These two tags have grown so popular that there is even a web community over at AmWriting.org.