This post originally published on April 8, 2014. We’ve updated it here with new info, screenshots, and audio.
Have you ever found yourself explaining hashtags to someone whose only connection with the word is as a telephone button?
Internet language has evolved considerably over the past few years as social media has taken off. Hashtags are a huge part of this evolution. What once was a telephone button is now a social media phenomenon. No wonder people are curious.
When they ask, I tell them that hashtags are a pound sign immediately followed by a keyword. They’re used for categorization on social media. Yes, they can be annoying if overused. And yes, I’ve seen the hashtag video of Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake.
Hashtags also have the potential to be truly valuable. The stats and info below make a pretty clear case that we should be understanding, using, and appreciating hashtags.