I was using twitter recently and started to realize that I don’t use hashtags anymore. If you are not familiar with hashtags you can check out the hashtags wiki. I originally started using hashtags to fill the twitter search void. Since Twitter acquired Summize, twitter search has been just as good as hashtags, if not better, at tracking topics; so, one question remains, are hash tags a dying feature?
I started using Hashtags only a few weeks after joining Twitter because I quickly noticed its growing popularity. It was a good way to fill the search void and keep track of various topics. Whether you used it for an internet meme, natural disasters and/or major new stories/events, it was a great way to find popular topics and follow them.
Lately, I have been finding myself less and less likely to use hashtags. At one point, hashtags provided what Twitter didn’t; now, since Twitter acquired Summize, that void has been filled and contains all the benefits of hashtags and none of the drawbacks. Twitter search is an official, real-time search without the # clutter and #difficultytoreadtopics (difficulty to read topics), that hashtags bring. The real-time search is a great feature; especially, if you are going to track a frequently updated topic. In my testing around the recent frequently updated topic, #asot400, twitter search found much more tweets than hashtags.org found, giving you a more accurate up-to-date representation of the twittersphere. Also, you can run a search on your topic of choice and every new tweet on that topic gets dynamically loaded to the search results. Twitter search doesn’t require the ‘#’ symbol; so, you are not limited to what people #tag. Tagging keywords can also make tweets difficult to read. For instance, let’s take a look at the following tweet:
Went to the #worldseries #redsox #game with @seandfeeney and the #beer was way too #expensive. BTW, #yankeessuck
Without the ‘#’ this would be much easier to read. Not to mention, stringing multiple words together like redsox becomes incredibly annoying. Also, tweets only allow for 140 characters and saving on characters is very important. If you tweet regularly, you will find that you run into that character limitation all too often. Finally, Twitter search will allow you to search on a string with spaces like “Red Sox.”
In conclusion, are hashtags dying? What do you think? The once void filling addition seems to not have much purpose anymore. Hashtags seem to be nothing more than a character hogging, legibility inhibitor with more limitations than benefits. Twitter search has all the tracking with none of the limitations. Twitter search will track hashtags and doesn’t require you to be followed by another twitter account the way @hashtags works. There are too many people who use the ‘#’ symbol and don’t even know that they have to follow @hashtags then have to wait to be followed back (which doesn’t take too long) in order for your #hashtags to be tracked.