Day 3: Who is Mr. Hashtag and why is he my new very best friend?
Saturday, January 21, 2012 at 09:54AM
Peggy Kendall in 30 Day Challenge, church, hashtag, social media, twitter

Yesterday I tweeted. Thank you. Life is full of little victories and I celebrate mine.  What was even better than the excitement of hitting the tweet button was the introduction to my new very best friend. Mr. Hashtag (or # as I like to call him).  After days of reading through scrolls of tweets with this annoying little # interrupting anything that communicated with a flow, I decided to figure out why Tweeters were out to make reading sentences so difficult. So who is Mr. #? Why is he standing between me and Twitter competency? Well, let me tell you my discovery. # is magic. Pure magic.

I first found my favorite hashtag buried in an article I was reading.  Instead of skipping over the annoying #, I decided that, since I was on a social media journey, I would click on the link. I learned about the hashtag #chsocm.  It is like this happy little community who sit around chatting about social media and the church. Well, I like chatting about social media and the church, and I like being part of a special club, so I decided it was time to suck it up and try something new.  After all, this 30-day challenge is all about diving in and making mistakes. So I made a tweet and stuck a #chsom at the end.

Oh, I can't tell you the excitement I've had in the last 2 days. Because of that little #, people found me.  They retweeted me.  They liked me. I have new "followers", for Pete's sake!  The added benefit is that as I try and sort through which tweeters to follow and which tweeters are too boring or too complicated to follow, my new little very best friend has helped me find and organize the things I'm interested in.

In case you haven't been introduced to my new very best friend, let me formally get you acquainted.  Mr # is officially defined as a symbol "used to mark keywords or topics in a Tweet. It was created organically by Twitter users as a way to categorize messages."  I have seen people at conferences use Mr. # to organize everyone's tweets about the conference.  At the time, of course, that was way beyond my twitter expertise.  But now I get it!  I think the most helpful article was this one in the New Yorker.  Susan Orlean talks about the creative way people use hashtags to be sarcastic or as a "muttered-into-a-handkerchief" style-tool. She talks about how to blend them into sentences or how to make them serve as commentary.  Well, I thought to myself, I can be sarcastic. I can have commentary. So, even if I mess up Mr. #, I can just say I was being a creative writer.

Well, my relationship with Mr. # just keeps getting better.  According to the experts, you don't want to put more than 3 in a tweet--that's just showing off.  I found some of the most commonly used hashtags at hashtags.org  So, when I put in #socialmedia and #chsom in one of my tweets, anyone who searches for those keywords, or is one of my new homies at the #chsom club, will find me.

Thank you Mr. #.  You are truly a very good best friend.

Article originally appeared on Technology and Faith (http://peggykendall.com/).
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