1) What are Hashtags?
A hashtag is a way to unite global Tweets around some particular topic. Basically, these are tags that help those who seek similar content discover your Tweets (Search Engine Journal).
Here’s the catch: Hashtags aren’t an officially supported Twitter service. They’re merely a convention that Twitter users have adopted on their own, within the 140-character text-only constraints of tweeting. So you can’t follow a hashtag directly through your Twitter account. A hashtag is not a source of tweets. Rather, it’s a way to label (tag) tweets so they can be easily pulled together (Contentious).
Example: #Jesus is a hashtag. How it could be used in a tweet is as follows:
2) How are they used in Twitter?
Generally, a hashtag is a great way to increase your Tweet visibility. However they should only be used if your Tweet adds value to the topic (Search Engine Journal).
By using a hashtag, people are able to follow a certain type of conversation by following that hashtag.
Example: If you were tweeting about social media and it related to christians you could use the hashtags #christian and #socialmedia in your tweet.
To see a quick snapshot of the most tweeted-about topics on Twitter, look to the sidebar on the right of your homepage where it says Trends. On defalt this section tells you international trends, however you can have it customized to be for your country or area if you wish. Here is an example of trends customized to Seattle:
Here are some explanations of tools on how to find them quoted from outside articles:By Contentious
- Twitter Search is the easiest way to track hastags. Tagref is a searchable glossary of hashtags that gets built directly via Twitter. To add a hashtag to this glossary, send a tweet to @tagref Twitter account in this format: @tagref #hashtag is definition.
- Twemes.com is another useful resource for discovering new hashtags and tracking those you are interested in. It has a hashtag cloud and also offers RSS subscription to any hashtag stream.
- What the Trend?: This useful little service makes it really easy to learn about trending hashtags. When something starts trending, What the Trend? will provide a quick blurb on what’s going on.
- Twubs: Twubs, uses a wiki system to help disseminate information on a hashtag. It aggregates tweets and imports pictures to help illuminate the topics being discussed.
- Hashtags.org: While not the best at helping you understand the meaning behind a tag, Hashtags.org is good at showing you its use over time and recent tweets, which oftentimes is enough to figure out the meaning behind the tag. It provides graphs and hour-by-hour information on top hashtags.
- If you’re trying to track tweets from a hashtag in real-time, Monitter and Twitterfall are good choices. If you need to track a less popular Twitter hashtag, try setting up a Twilert to get a daily email of the use of a specific hashtag.
So there you are 10 tools to help track a hashtag:
- Trends from your homepage
- Twitter Search
- What the Trend?
4) What types of Hashtags are Faith Based Conversations using?
I found What the Trend very helpful when looking for these.
What else do you think should be added to this list?5) Hashtag Rules:The primary one to remember: don’t overuse them. If every one of your tweets IS a hashtag, you dilute the usefulness of them by fragmenting the conversation. In addition, many people will shy away from you because it seems spammy (Mashable).
- Try not to use them too often because this is often viewed by other followers as spam and also makes the conversation difficult to decipher.
- (When making a new hashtag) Explain the subject matter of your hashtag in your tweets so people understand what it means.
- Make certain the hashtag provides significance for you and your followers by using them specifically for organizing your information. (Twitter Tip Central)
I hope this helps you as you jump into the faith-based conversations on Twitter!