If you do a lot of travelling, conventions, events – anything involving a lot of people – Twitter can be a valuable tool, both for planning and ‘on the scene’.
To use these tags, you can perform a search on the Twitter website, or your favourite Twitter client. Including the # means that, in many cases, you’ll be able to narrow your search down to something resembling the information you’re looking for. Searching for ‘moonlight’, for example, will bring up anyone admiring the moonlit night sky. Searching for ‘#moonlight’ is more likely to weed out those updates and concentrate on ones that people specifically tagged as such; you’re more likely to get tweets about the show or the software. If you see a ‘tweet’ with a hashtag come across your twitter feed you can click on it to see all the recent tweets that include that tag. You’ll be able to know what other people are saying about it… or just figure out what it’s all about.
Hashtags are either determined by the organizers or form naturally by Twitter users. When you make one that will be used for the purpose of organizing or sharing information, keep the 140 character twitter limit in mind. The shorter the hashtag, the better.
Let’s take, for example, Star Wars Celebration. : ) For months beforehand, I followed the hashtag #swcv. The tag was used to pass along news and updates about the convention, finding out who all was planning to be there and, as we got closer and actually arrived in Florida, it was used to organize meet-ups and share the experience with those at home. Exhibitors and artists also used the tag, in conjunction with their own, to pass on information about their booths and share deals.
It’s also been helpful to learn about and plan smaller conferences such as #podcamphfx, arrange meetups and keep in touch with social groups such as #halifaxchicks and even follow and participate in education classes and information professional development (via links and information shared on twitter, searchable via hashtags).
This is the power of twitter – it’s more than just what you had for lunch. By exploring tags that interest you, you’ll also be able to find other people to follow that will enhance your experience on this social networking site and make it worth your while.
Follow me on Twitter: @AuroraLee
This is one in a series of posts about great finds discovered on or because of Twitter.