Tag Archives: social media

Confused? Understanding Hashtags on Social Networks

#Hashtags confusing?  Here is a good summary of hashtags from Faris Samawi posted at Social Media Today.

Confused? Understanding Hashtags on Social Networks


Facebook was the last of the major social networks to introduce the hashtag earlier this month. This has been greeted by mixed emotions ranging from excitement by those who use it on other social networks, to confusion at this strange symbol suddenly appearing in status updates, to indifference. Check out the informal poll run on our Facebook page which captured these sentiments.

Are you #Confused? Here is a quick guide on understanding hashtags. It will enable you to use them with confidence and impress your friends and colleagues! The information presented here should translate across the major social networks which all use hashtags (with some minor variations).

So what exactly is a hashtag?

My simplified definition is hashtags are like keywords which can be used to organize messages on a social network. This then facilitates  the searching and grouping of messages with given hashtags. Hashtags are preceded by the pound sign (#) and can be a word or a short phrase (i.e. #Hashtag or #ThisIsAHashtag)

More technical definitions can be found on Wikipedia and Wiktionary.

An interesting look at the life and different uses of the hashtag across history can be found in this Infographic.

Who defines hashtags?

You do. You can place a pound (#) sign in front of any keyword(s) in your message and turn them into hashtags. However, the power of hashtags comes from other people using the same keyword(s) so that by clicking on a hashtag you can get a group of other messages on that topic.

How can I use hashtags?

Typical uses of hashtags:

  • Express emotions: #surprised #speechless #frustrated
  • Identify places or brands or events: #Hawaii #Ferrari #CoolEvent
  • Make recommendations: #MustRead #MustWatch #NowPlaying
  • Connect with like-minded individuals: #CatLovers #TVaddicts

Hashtags should make your messages easier to organize and find. The trick is to hashtag keywords that other people would use when looking for the content contained in your message. You can do a quick search for keywords prior to posting your message to see which hashtags are popular (called “trending”).

Three common mistakes to avoid:

  1. Hashtagging every word (i.e. #I #am #so #excited #today)
  2. Hashtagging the same word more than once (i.e. It is my #birthday. Here is a photo of my #birthday cake, my #birthday presents, and my awesome #birthday party!)
  3. Separating keywords. If your keyword is “black cat” your hashtag should be #BlackCat. If you write it as #Black #Cat this will give you two different keywords: “black” and “cat”.

Where can I place hashtags?

You can use hashtags anywhere in your message – in the main body itself or as a postscript at the end. Here is an example with a hashtag in the main body of the message and two hashtags at the end.

Check out this #awesome site: www.digitalbuzz.me
#SocialMedia #Marketing

Why should I use hashtags?

Two reasons:

  1. Increase exposure
  2. Organize content

Both of these are compelling reason to use hashtags on your personal messages. They are even more compelling when it comes to using social media to promote your business.

What about privacy on Facebook? (source)

If you write a post with limited privacy (ie. Friends), then only those who you have authorized to see the post in the first place will be able to find your post when they search for the hashtag.

If your post’s privacy is set to public, then anyone searching for that hashtag will be able to see your post.

Ready to go out and conquer your social networks with hashtags? Please share this article to help and impress your friends and colleagues.

Still #Confused about hashtags? Feel free to get in touch or post questions in the comments below.

image: hashtags/shutterstock


Filed under Humor and Observations

Epic Meltdown

Local Arizona restaurant – Amy’s Baking Company Bakery Boutique & Bistro – Is slated to be on Kitchen Nightmares on TV with Gordon Ramsey.  First, if I own a restaurant, why would I want to be on Kitchen Nightmares?  Second, the owners are so wacko that even Gordon Ramsey and his crew walked out.  The show aired last Friday, basically with them packing up and saying you guys are too psycho to work with.  So, what then?

crazy cooks

In an epic meltdown, as if the horrible publicity were not already enough, the owners start flaming their own customers in social media.  On Facebook, on Yelp, on Reddit…  They get more bizarre as they go.  It is a great example of what NOT to do EVER when you are in business.  If they had offered to have a Yelp night, or FB or Reddit night, they could have invited their haters for a free meal and settled things down.  But noooooo….   For a good laugh, read the link below:  (warning: their language gets worse as they go.)



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Filed under Humor and Observations

The Dark Side of Social Media, Yelp, etc.

Unfortunately, no matter what tools we have to communicate with each other, someone will turn them to evil.  Increasingly, people are using apps to determine where they eat, stay, recreate and purchase items.  Some companies pay people to do “social media” for them to make them look good.  I have no problem with this, it is simply a new form of advertising.  Then there are the neutral folks, who legitimately post their impartial views of a particular company.  Finally, there are those who extort businesses for free items to prevent them from trashing and ruining the reputation of the company.

Laws have not caught up with any of this.  Regulators are usually at least ten years behind and even more with science and technology – example the late fiasco with their attempt to outlaw reblogging.  As a result, there are no clear anti-extortion laws for social media, even though businesses are being threatened, in my opinion, unlawfully, with damage to their revenues if they don’t pay off.  I would not have a problem telling a company, hey, if you give me a free meal I will blog FOR you, but saying give it to me or else I will TRASH you seems wrong to me.  What do you think?

Here is an article that discussed the problem as well:

Scammers want restaurants to fork over payouts, or digest negative reviews


Published July 03, 2012


Scammers are making some restaurants an offer they can’t refuse: A payoff or discount, or they’ll post a nasty rating on online review sites like Yelp! or Angie’s List.

There’s no real data showing how often it’s happening, but anecdotal evidence suggests cyber-extortion is on the rise: scammers know online reviews carry a lot of weight, and can affect a company’s bottom line.

Some are willing to pay to keep bad reviews from popping up, but not Sonny Mayugba, owner of the popular Red Rabbit Kitchen and Bar in Sacramento. He described how a patron recently tried to shake him down after alleging they got food poisoning.

“He said, ‘I’m going to do a scathing review of you on Yelp!, I’m going to make sure my girlfriend does a scathing review on Yelp!, and then I’m going to report you to the health department. However, if you buy me a $100.00 gift card to Ella, which is a nice restaurant here in town, you’ll save me from doing all those things.’ To me, that was extortion.”

Mayugba didn’t pay a dime, and that customer’s post — while negative — didn’t mention anything about food poisoning, confirming the owner’s suspicion the allegation was made up.

Legal experts say he was wise not to pay, or — to file a lawsuit. They say if a business is seen as litigious, that can cause just as much damage as a negative review. Free speech advocate Matt Zimmerman, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, says the better course is to use social media to explain their side of the story, and work even harder to earn more positive reviews.

“We can’t control all speech about us, and we should stop trying,” says Zimmerman. “Instead, we should try to encourage the positive feedback, try to encourage a more accurate picture of our business. Even if an ad or post is unfair, a business’ more effective response is going to be to create a counter-narrative online.”

Victim’s of cyber-extortion can’t blame the websites. Yelp!, Angie’s List, and other review sites are not legally responsible for what their users do. However, if someone crosses the line, and posts something totally false intended to cause harm, that defamatory speech is not protected under the Constitution, and that person could be successfully sued. Attorneys suggest business owners track threats, collect evidence and report them to the police.

While the sites themselves may not be liable, most, including Yelp!, work hard to weed out sham posts, both positive and negative. From a business standpoint, it’s in their best interest to try to screen out fake or malicious reviews if they want to maintain their popularity and integrity.

As Mayugba put it, a review site “is a wonderful sign post for those of us who use it correctly. When people use it to leverage value out of people for wrong, it devalues that media. That’s not only extortion, but it’s tainting the media platform.”

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2012/07/03/scammers-threatening-restaurants-with-negative-reviews/#ixzz1zb9mPTzM


Filed under Humor and Observations, Uncategorized