Perhaps one of the most important parts of Twitter is the hashtag.  It’s not necessarily the 140 characters available per tweet that gets a message out; it is the “adding of your voice to the general discussion” through the hashtag that makes the impact, according to this article by SocialMediaToday.

At the same time that hashtags are the means for entering a larger conversation, they also “narrow down your audience” which allows people who are truly interested in the same topics to exchange ideas.  The beauty and pure genius of the hashtag lies in the way its complete simplicity allows for a transfer of ideas and thoughts.  Through Twitter’s categorization of tweets with the same hashtags, true engagement around an idea or a product is solicited.

As a result, it is no wonder that businesses, non-profits and politicians constantly use Twitter as a means of spreading their word.  By asking followers to tweet using a specific hashtag, companies, businesses, celebrities, and politicians create conversations based around their messaging.  It’s a win win situation.  Followers speak their mind and conversation and buzz is created around a central theme.

Now I don’t know if this is just my generation (remember I am a teen), or just the people I follow on Twitter, but most people I know do not use hashtags in the “normal sense” as explained by  My generation doesn’t try to get in on the conversations or add their voice to the mix.  We don’t look at what is trending and tweet about it, or repeat other people’s hashtags.  Instead, we tweet but then use our hashtags to add emphasis to our tweet (kind of like a pumped up adjective):

It’s still uncertain whether we do this to blatantly ignore the way Twitter works, or to show that a social media platform based around conversation in fact has no rules or the rules can be broken and new rules created.  If that’s the case then… #ohwell #yolo #breakingtherules #oops

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