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What is a hashtag?

Hashtags are the # symbols used on Twitter and other social media like Instagram and Facebook.

A hashtag provides a meta data tag or label to indicate the subject of a tweet or a post. Twitter co-founder Chris Messina, spotted that this would allow messages to be grouped according to content, making them easier to find - see here

A Twitter search for hashtags, for example, will bring up tweets containing #hashtag.

Is there a protocol to using hashtags?

Using hashtags well is an art that not all tweeters have mastered. The evolving protocol is that more than two # per tweet is trying too hard to attract traffic.

The most celebrated/infamous user tweeter is, course, resident in the White House. Here are the hashtags he uses most heavily:

#MAGA (Make America Great Again) is perhaps the most effective hashtag of all time. #ICYMI (in case you missed it) is shorthand familiar to regular social media users.

But aren't Twitter users generally #antitrump? 

Though #antitrump sentiment dominates Twitter its hashtags have been less effective. The problem is that the anti-Trump camp covers the complete political spectrum. For example, left wing #resistance tweeters alienate conservative #nevertrump supporters.

Other politicians are less skilled than President Trump in their use of hashtags. Many, for example, would be well-advised to replace tedious, self-serving platitudes:(#hardworking) with amusing trivia like #CareerEndingTwitterTypos or #1LetterWrongMovie.

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