Some people seem to feel a need to hashtag1 every second word of their tweets. I don’t really understand why, maybe it’s because we all have been told that they are good for “increasing your reach”2, but it’s driving me nuts. It makes reasonable, smart, cool people sound like soulless social-media ding-dongs.
In this article, Daniel Victor examines the futility of using hashtags to get more followers, and then nails the productive uses for them:
They’re great for gathering small groups of people; […] When kept to a small scale, they can ably perform their service as a filter of relevant tweets (#EastVillage is more manageable than #NYC). They can be useful for subtext; we’ve all sent emails and text messages that should have had #sarcasm attached. The New York Times started the #snowku hashtag to gather snow-themed haikus during a February snowstorm.
They also work great for context, for example, when brain-dumping about Star Trek: The Next Generation, it’s often easier to write
#tng than to explain that I’m watching a twenty-odd years old TV show.