Hey, it’s time to argue about hashtags again! The Internet got all revved up about it this week when Daniel Victor published Hashtags considered #harmful:
In most searches, the quantity of tweets is overwhelming and the quality underwhelming. It’s worth questioning how many users find hashtag searches useful, but it’s hard to know, since Twitter doesn’t provide such data.
He goes on to make the argument that most blog posts and tweets about the article focused on:
I believe hashtags are aesthetically damaging. I believe a tweet free of hashtags is more pleasing to the eye, more easily consumed, and thus more likely to be retweeted (which is a proven way of growing your audience)
Hashtags actually do increase engagement. It may be tough to recognize through subjectivity, but the reality is, hashtags provide a mechanism for easier discovery, encourage brevity, promote a single key binding for disparate data, and even help inject tone/personality.
Whatever your personal thoughts on the use of hashtags2, it’s worth reminding ourselves that the American Dialect Society voted “hashtag” as the word of the year for 2012. So for a bit of history on our volatile relationship with the thing, have a look at these articles.