#HASHTAGS: Teachers Hate Them, Marketers Love Them


With the rise of social media usage has come the popularity of hashtags. If you do not know what a hashtag is, you have probably at least seen it in an ad campaign, on a Facebook post, or even in a text or email (by the way, they don’t work in text or email).

Hashtags originated as a way to group conversations, topics, or events within searchable streams in social media. They are most commonly used on Twitter and Google +.

I’ve seen hashtags on everything from TV shows (#madmen, #TrueBlood) to general slang (#swagg, #ohsnap) and the ever popular #FF –FollowFriday.

I recently had an interesting conversation with a teacher about how her 8th grade students are using hashtags. She told me students use them everywhere: on homework assignments, in general conversations, and even requested she accompany the lesson plans on the chalkboard each day with hashtags. She hates them because they are overused and misused. This could be a translation issue with youth. Her frustration is understandable.

I'm guilty as well. I have a running inside joke with the use of #SMMBarbie. It is a reference to my girly ways, paired with my passion for social media marketing. If you ever see me using it, it represents "Social Media Marketing Barbie." :)

As a marketer, I love hashtags. I have found following hashtags at events I'm attending is a great way to follow the conversation, share ideas, and  find new friends with similar interests. It is also helpful in learning what's going on at events you are not even at! Follow the hashtag to get the scoop. In fact, I'm a "social media correspondent" for

Nashville Technology Council's #TechVille conference next Tuesday (5/15/12) if you're interested in following along on the #TechVille hashtag.

Hashtags can also be used to support causes that you are passionate about or simply find out what is going in in your community. I am a fan of #Nashville. I can see what is going on in my community as well as look for businesses and people to strike up a conversation with.

Hashtags work well if you use them correctly. SO if you see someone using a hashtag incorrectly, just laugh and take the opportunity to tell them the benefits of correctly using them.

HOMEWORK TIME! Share your #Hashtag experiences:

* Do you have a #hashtag success story where you have made a positive, useful connection?

* Have a funny story for a misused #hashtag? Share that as well!