In a recent post, we looked at Twitter as a social media tool for writers: Social Media – Twitter & Writing. Since we looked at some of the basics already, let’s dig a little deeper and talk about Twitter “hashtags.”
By sending tweets without hashtags, it’s much more difficult for people to see your tweets and to find you. You want people to be able to find you since one of Twitter’s benefits is that it allows individuals in the community to promote other’s, and also their own, brands. Even if you’re only leaving quotes, or what you’re doing at the moment, that is your brand. For a writer, it might be a tweet about his or her book, or blog. A musician may want to emphasize their new CD or another artist’s latest release.
In order to become searchable, the key is the hashtag. Hashtags were started by users of the Twitter community to add specific context to tweets. Anyone who adds a hashtag to their tweet is categorizing that tweet within a focused topic. Hashtagging compiles your tweets with others who are like-minded on the topic or subject you are tweeting about. This will make it easier for people to find you and your tweets. Basically, if you’re not using hashtags, then you’re not going to reach the people you want to provide information to, or learn from.
HOW DO YOU CREATE A HASHTAG?
It’s quite easy really: Simply prefix the word with the hash symbol – “#”. For example, if you’re writing and want to talk about that topic, it would look like this – #writing, or an alternative hashtag for writing would be – #amwriting. Anyone who would like to discuss this subject merely types into the Search box “#amwriting” or “#writing” and they will see the Twitter thread regarding any tweet with those hashtags.
HEY, HASHTAG – WHAT DO YOU MEAN?
Over time, Twitter users have caught on to using hashtags, and there are now so many that the problem is knowing what all of them mean. Every day, new ones pop up – sometimes for hot topics of the day, or just something new. Don’t be overwhelmed trying to determine what they mean. I’ve found that common sense usually is the best way to figure it out.
For example, if you see a music hashtag #hiphop, chances are it’s about hip-hop music; pretty easy one. But what if you run across #nowplaying? If you type it in to the Search box, typically you can scan through the Twitter stream and quickly figure out that this hashtag is about what the person tweeting is “now playing” on their listening device.
MY ADVICE ON HASHTAG ETIQUETTE
- It’s okay to use one to three hashtags in a tweet.
- Only use them to add value to your message, and allow proper searching.
- Keep in my mind, however, that excessive hashtagging can be annoying, and may cause you to lose followers.
- Don’t use hashtags on every tweet.
KEY POINT: Any punctuation mark after a hastagged word, ends the hashtag at that point. If you hashtag #writer’s, for example, the search will only yield results for “writer” due to the apostrophe.
USEFUL HASHTAGS FOR WRITERS ON TWITTER
#amwriting – One of the most often-used Twitter hashtag for writers. Used frequently while writing.
#amediting – Used when you’re in the process of editing.
#askagent – Ask a question that you would want an agent to answer about writing and publishing.
#blogging – Good hashtag to exchange information about blogging.
#books – Promoting, reading, or working on a book? This is the hashtag to use.
#WW – For writers this means “Writer Wednesday” (like Follow Friday). Use it to tag writers you follow.
#indieauthor – If you’re an independent author writing a book, or want to learn about it.
#writetip – Share writing tips and learn writing tips from other writers.
#pubtip – Tips from agents and authors regarding publishing.
#yalit – For topics dealing with the young adult literature genre.
#wordcount – Writers can share the count with other writers for accountability, or for consolation.
#MyWANA – Be sure to check out this writer’s hashtag. See Kristen Lamb’s Blog post for details.
Common abbreviations for writers:
As a bonus, these will help keep your writing tweets short.
MC = Main Character
POV =Point of View
ARC = Advanced Reader Copy
NF = Non-fiction
CP = Crit (critique) Partner
WIP = Work In Progress
PB = Picture Book
YA = Young Adult (novel)
MS = Manuscript (mss=manuscripts)