Monday, February 8, 2010

Hashing Out Hashtags

CONGRATULATIONS to the winner of a signed copy of Lisa Schroeder's FAR FROM YOU ... Kimberly Job! Kimberly, our email address is [at] gmail [dot] com if you'd like to send us your mailing address to get the ball rolling.

Today I'm going to talk more about my growing addiction to Twitter or, as my husband calls it, the imminent Twittervention. (I personally blame my MigWriters partner in crime, Debbie Ridpath Ohi, for creating her essential and phenomenal Writer's Guide to Twitter web page. Thanks Debbie!)

Twitter is very confusing at first but it doesn't take long to get as addicted as I am. Of course, I mean to get as much utility from Twitter as I do. As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, the first step is to follow the right people. The second step is to figure out hashtags.

A hashtag is just like a blog post label. It's a way to index your tweet while you post it. Then you can use the search box to search by hashtags such as #yalit. That will call up tweets where the writer appended the hashtag #yalit. People are so creative, though, that it didn't take long for hashtags to be used for more than simple indexing:

1. Scheduled chats. Tuesday night (starting 9 p.m. EST) is #kidlitchat. Wednesday night (starting 9 p.m. EST) is #yalitchat. To get into chats, that's all you need to know at first. Get on Twitter on one of those nights, search the chat hashtag, and read. Once you want to join in the fun, the web site will show you only tweets from your chosen chat AND add the hashtag automatically to your tweets. I always forget to add the hashtag!

2. Anytime chats. #amwriting is popular. It's like a watercooler of people who are currently writing and need to express their frustration or elation on their works in progress. It's virtual coworkers available around the clock.

3. Conference updates. #scbwiny10 was the tag used for updates from the recent SCBWI conference in New York. There are usually administration type tweets circulating before a conference where everyone decides what hashtag to use.

4. Spontaneous conversations. Check out #genderinya. A couple of people started talking about gender in YA on Twitter using that hashtag, and soon lots of people had joined the conversation.

5. Meta-humor. For example, I could tweet this:

Looks like the fifth candidate has turned down the head coach position in Buffalo. #WowtheBillsSuck

There isn't an actual hashtag in general use named #WowtheBillsSuck, but it's funny because there should be.

So, should you add #yalit to all of your YA-related posts? All I know is that I always forget to use the hashtag. Even when I mean to add #yalit, it slips my mind. Maybe that's for the best. Some people think that adding hashtags to all of your tweets clogs up the hashtag stream, makes you look spammy, makes you a minor servant of the devil, etc. I have never thought less of anyone for using hashtags myself.

What do you think? Have you ever been irritated by hashtags?

-- Kate, Miss Perfecting the Pages


Kimberly Job said...

So glad I won the book. Can't wait to read it.

I'm still trying to figure out the whole Twitter thing, so keep the informative posts coming. :)

DeenaML said...

Kate, this post is so helpful. Srsly. I need a twitter training session when I have time.

Emily Marshall said...

Very helpful!!!

Christina Farley said...

Great post. I'm still learning how to use Twitter. I haven't actually used hashtags yet. Maybe I'm just not brave enough yet. :)

Anonymous said...

louis vuitton bags will surely look good on just about anything, and can be used from day till night while on a little get together party. This Monogram Vernis is in blue galactic, pink and sunset orange colors, which are both striking and stylish looking. Each of Monogram Watercolor carries a tag of $855, which is somewhat low-priced for such Patent leather handbag.