Introduction to #hashtags
Some tweeters use them a lot, others don’t, but the #bellringing hastag definitely helps other bellringers to find your tweets and, used in connection with a place tag, will help non-ringers find your tweets too. But first, some thoughts about the “cons” of using hashtags…
I hate #hashtags
Was a quote from a recent discussion I had in a bellringing facebook group, concerning Twitter. The writer was not (as you might imagine the stereotype) 90 years old or in any way a Victor Meldrew character. He is under 25, techno-savvy and in every way a coolperson. There are several reason to hate hashtags in Twitter.
- They use up precious space. You only have 140 characters in which to express your innermost thoughts and #bellringing takes up 12 of them.
- When you embed the tweets in a website, each hashtag turns blue (along with any hotlinks you have deliberately put into the message) so the effect is slightly confusing, visually. This really DOES matter, as with at least 3.62 billion pages on the Internet a surfer has a lot of stuff vying for his attention and it’s not a good idea to make her/him think “yuk”.
- If a tweet contains a wealth of hotlinks and hashtags the surfer might be excused for thinking it was not tweeted to her/him, but to a robot or something. So she/he will feel cross and not absorb the message the tweet was intended to convey.
So why would a bellropespider who is always mindful of her end-user’s delicate feelings use hashtags at all, let alone impart any information which might encourage others to use them?
At this point I would like you to conjour up a mental image of a small black spider wearing one of those academic caps, picking up a piece of chalk, and approaching an old, dusty blackboard. Yes, I am old enough to remember this mode of learning. If you are not, then I’m afraid you will have to quickly view this video. Spider rather likes the soundtrack because it makes her feel very nostalgic.
Benefits of using #bellringing
- Because it is an accepted hashtag in the bellringing community on twitter (a small but very illustrious group of tweeps at the time of writing), there are some tweeps who will regularly search the twitter-sphere to see if anyone new has appeared. Imagine sitting in a pub when you are on holiday and someone says “bellringing” over in the corner. Bet you would be straining to eavesdrop on the conversation… you might even go over and introduce yourself if you found it was the local band having a pint! So it is with Twitter. If you use the hashtag, people will “hear” your tweets and may introduce themselves. If they like your tweets, they may even follow you so as to listen to all your future pearls of wisdon. In a nutshell? It helps you to find other bellringers. If you used a similar hashtag like #bellringers or even #campanology then chances are, noone will respond.
- Suppose you are tweeting about your planned Saturday activity, which is ringing for a wedding in Landewednack. If you tweet “Ringing for wedding in Landewednack” then your followers will be excited and pleased. If you tweet “Ringing for a wedding in #Landewednack this morning at 11am. #bellringing” this is a most different matter. All those villagers who lean into the tweet-waves and search for #Landewednack will be most thrilled and will roar immediately down to the village green and set up their video equipment to capture the moment for posterity. (This is a fanciful thought… noone has yet used the hastag #Landewednack but this gives spider the opportunity to be a WORLD FIRST she supposes. However the bellringers at Landewednack are most interestingly documented on the internet please click here to see. Oh I am very much drifting from my point, Which is Place hashtags help non-ringers to find you, and the #bellringing hashtag then enables them to surf more bellringing stuff.
- If you are let us supposing, grabbing a tower, you could tweet “#Bellringing at #Egham this morning from 11 til 12” and this would mean your tweet is included in this spider’s map and her “offical” (when spider is concerned the word official has all 8 tongues in her cheek!!!) twitter feed. Click here to see who is tweeting about bellringing at Egham. Spider is rambling again. Her point here is Using #bellringing in the same tweet as a #placename tells local ringers you are visiting and is a very nice friendly thing to do. Spider herself has 5 twitter accounts and finds this gives her often most embarassing moments. Sensible Tweeps have ONE feed and use hashtags to tell their followers and the public, what they subject of each tweet is. Here, just for your interest, are the current tweets about #bellringing at #Egham Tweets by @
- The great and omniprescent Google Spiders are all carefully indexing each tweet you send out. Please do not be frightened or feel shy and protect your tweets from the rest of us. Just think of the Google Spiders as like great big bellropespiders whose aim in life is to connect people together who might become friends, customers, employees, wives, bellringers in your band, etc, etc. In short Using recognised words like #bellringing helps people to find you on Google too. These illustrious spiders may not regard the tweets as front page news for that search but they will be there, and, if there is not much listing for your band on the internet, it will probably be front page news on Google. Spider recognises of course that there are other search engines and they will all be sending their spiders to look at your tweets too.
- Last but not least (Spider has nearly filled up her little blackboard now), When you embed your tweets in a webpage, then the hashtags will turn blue. Above spider listed this as a potential confusion for surfers. Why is spider now listing this as a plus point? Well because YOU will know (because you are still reading, even though you finished your coffee ages ago and you REALLY SHOULD BE FILLING IN THAT TAX RETURN) that you can click the little blue hashtag. It is blue because (drum-roll) it is hotlink to ALL the most fascinating tweets in the world, ie the ones about #bellringing. So everyone who visits your webpage with its embedded tweet stream is most hugely tempted to quickly click (it won’t take a moment, I can walk the dog in a minute) and find out more about today’s bellringing news. Now the theory of marketing states (and this is a spider’s own opinion and she is not at all a graduate in marketing studies or any such illustrious thing) that the more someone becomes aware of something, the more it is possible they will go and DO it. Mr Spider used to chatter on about bellringing around the house even in those long-gone days when Mrs. Spider was not a bellringer. It took nearly 30 years but it worked! Spider now is a bellringer too. So, everything ringers can do to keep bellringing in people’s awareness will likely increase the number of happy smiling ringers who catch hold with you to ring your bells. Eventually. Cautioning that patience is needed. In a nutshell Using #bellringing helps to publicise bellringing to everyone, ringers and non-ringers alike. Some poor non-ringers think that our hashtag is #campanology isn’t it quaint! I think we can blame ourselves for this rather touching mixup! Here is what is on the #bellringing tag right now on twitter. Tweets by @
Hashtags in WordPress
This small arachnid website is actually a WordPress Blog. All posts (ie news pages) on a blog are decorated at the bottom with tags . They do not use up precious space being at the bottom of the page, but they are blue and will enable the surfer to click through to other posts on the same topic. They also let a WordPress User search for posts on the topic across all WordPress blogs. Which is a great way to network and find people who are writing about the things you find fascinating. (WordPress is a social network too, as well as a web host). They are not called hashtags because they do not start with a hash character. However use of the tag bellringing in WordPress will help people to find your blog. Spider’s first website (the Christchurch and District site) did not use that hashtag at first because she did not know this, but she uses it now and again these days when she remembers, as a little waving flag to other bloggers saying “hello I am blogging about bellringing too”. Chalk out again, bullet points:
- Tagging your post bellringing will help other bellringers find you
- The tags help Google and other engines to find you too
- Tags all have their own RSS feeds so people can “tune in” just to posts on a particular subject.
- The RSS feeds can be turned into menus on a wordpress blog so menus can be tuned to show posts on a particular subject in a very controlled manner. See for example this link which shows the C&S website again, but very much through the eyes of a user who is wanting to know Lynhurst and Minstead. The top menu on the right of the screen is now local news only. (This feature is clearest to understand if you are using a computer – on a phone, wordpress has to move this menu to underneath the page content.)
Enough of a spider’s thoughts. Please to add your thoughts using the small box below.