One of the most complex features of Twitter for new users to understand is the hashtag, a topic with a hash symbol (“#”) at the start to identify it. Twitter hashtags like #NurseTechMonday or #NurseBlogLove help spread information on Twitter while also helping to organize it.
The hashtag is a favorite tool of conferences and event organizers, but it’s also a way for Twitter users to organize themselves. Think of hashtags as keywords, which are easily browse-able and searchable.
The hashtag’s big break was in 2007….originally coined by Chris Messina adding tags to where he was tweeting from and what it was about…..but it wasn’t until the San Diego wildfires when hashtags really took off.
Check out the infographic below from Offerpop for a timeline which shows how this common sign turned into a global icon.
Where Do I Find Healthcare Hashtags?
Before you start using hashtags in your tweets, It can be helpful to do a little research first, to find out if the subject you’re tweeting already has an established hashtag.
Lucky for us, we have our friends at Symplur who built The Healthcare Hashtag Project. This is quite literally the single most important tool I use to locate healthcare topic hashtags, conferences and chats.
The blog is full of practical information and analysis of trends in healthcare social media. Check out this post and channel your inner epidemiologist: The Life Cycle of Ebola on Twitter.
Conference transcripts are great places to find current evidence based resources AND connect with key influencers in your specialty. Here’s a peek at a little data and list of key influencers from #onscongress (Oncology Nursing Society) this year!
How Do I Use Hashtags?
Here are 3 quick tips for beginners
- Don’t string #toomanywordstogether with a single hashtag.
- Avoid #spamming #with #hashtags. Don’t over-tag a #single #tweet.
- Use hashtags only on tweets relevant to the topic.
Ready to flaunt your new #healthcare #hashtag wisdom?
Let’s Do This!
If you don’t already have a Twitter account, mosey on over to my blog post, Teach a Nurse to Tweet, which will get you started in less than 30 minutes!
Have a tip to share on hashtags or a unique way you use them? Be sure to share in the comments!