Twitter: Whether to make a #hash of it

Like many Twitter users, I have a broad range of followers who I’ve picked up for a variety of reason over time, while the people I follow are similarly varied. I’m often aware that some of tweets I put out may be of interest to a few but may be intensely dull or irrelevent to others. I’m wondering whether greater user of hashtags might aid the tracking of themes for all involved.

For instance, the @imule account talks a lot about what’s going on locally; something that could be grouped under the occasionally used #WD3 hashtag. Then, if someone wanted to see what local things have been talked about recently, they need only search or filter for the hashtag.

Now of course you could search for other key words to find local content, however my feeling is there are too many of these to effectively keep track of what’s being taken about. Would you search for Rickmansworth, Ricky, SW Herts, South West Hertfordshire, Chorleywood, Croxley, WD3? Plus, there are likely a number of tweets that imply local content from their sender but where there’s nothing explicit in the content to indicate localness.

I also often find I miss interesting tweets by others due simply to the time of day that they tweet. For instance, I generally can’t check Twitter during the day. I’ve recently found myself wondering if several of the favourite people I follow have stopped tweeting. They haven’t; they’ve just tweeted when I’ve not been checking and either I’ve not had time to go through all the tweets of the day, or my Twitter app doesn’t download enough apps to go far enough back through the day to pick them up. I miss out on the tweets, only occasionally picking up on some of them later, and feel all the poorer for it.

We do of course have Twitter lists. Although I’ve set up a number of lists I don’t currently finding myself using them as much as I should. Given the pace of change and activity on Twitter it can prove difficult to keep a number of lists up-to-date with new users. Hashtags on the other hand are much more organic, and are chosen by the users themselves. People not know to you could discover and start using the hashtags and you’ll automatically pick up on what they’re saying.

So, I’m throwing this out to all of you reading this: are hashtags the way to go to help following interesting content? Should we give it a go? Is there a glaring issue with this idea that I’ve overlooked?

From the tweets I use I’d perhaps suggest using the following hashtags:

#WD3 – local tweets concerning Rickmansworth, Chorleywood, Croxley and round
#metline or #commute – tweets about commuting to and from London
#macuk – chat by Mac users in the UK
#olympics – chat about the current Olympics, and the same could be used for all sports
#sundaylunch – for those revelling in the joy that is the Sunday Roast

In applications such as Tweetdeck, it’s possible to filter out or filter in keywords or hashtags, so for those bored of my moans about the commute, relief could be found.

I’m not 100% sure of the idea yet, so give me your thoughts. Would be useful, would it work and most importantly would *you* use it?

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One thought on “Twitter: Whether to make a #hash of it

  1. For the location-based tags (#WD3 etc.), the use of Twitter clients capable of interpreting the GPS data associated with many tweets could be useful (Tweetie 2, for example), but from what I’ve read it’s not been taken up a by a huge number of people. You then of course have the issue of those people who don’t turn off their GPS information when they’re not talking about something location specific. And there’s the privacy and security issue of accidentally tweeting that you’re going on two-week’s holiday from your home address.

    Is Tweetdeck capable of filtering tweets based on location? I must admit, I’ve not used it in a while as I heavily reduced the number of people I was following so as to kind of make the program redundant.

    I thought of using hashtags last week, but for a completely opposite reason. A friend of mine insists on talking about Lost after he’s downloaded it from the Internet mid-week. Which is extremely irritating for anyone waiting until the weekend to watch it. So I’m currently trying to work out if there’s a way of filtering results so that I wouldn’t see any posts in which he may have used a #lost tag.

    Of course, there is also the issue that the more tags you use in a post, the less space you have to write. For the most part I like to try and squeeze as much as I can out of those 140, which is why I opt not to use hashtags too often.

    Anyway, just thought I’d throw in my two-cents’ worth. :)

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