Toronto Mike

The Value of Hashtags - Hesitant to Embrace?


Now that I've been an active member of the Twittersphere for a half year, there's one thing that still somewhat confuses me.  If it's confusing me, it's likely confusing others.  I'm referring to the value of hashtags in tweets.

When I tweet from Toronto Marlies games, I try to end each tweet with #marlies.  Why do I do that?  I do that because of something I read at

Hashtags are a community-driven convention for adding additional context and metadata to your tweets. They're like tags on Flickr, only added inline to your post. You create a hashtag simply by prefixing a word with a hash symbol: #hashtag.

Obviously I bought into the premise, because I use them.  But a search for marlies on reveals zero results.  Where are my #marlies entries?  What was the point?

@geoperdis, an interesting chap I follow on Twitter, is promoting the CanTags project.  He wants us to localize our tweets with six character hashtags, three for the city and three for the subject.  I'll let him explain it.

Cantags are easy to use and remember. The first three letters of your city or town? That's the first part of the CanTag (WIN for Winnipeg). Then, you add the topic you're discussing (ARTS for the Arts), (BIZ for Business), (SPO for Sports), etc.

Again, I like the premise, but will it work in practice?  Will tagging my Marlies tweets with #torspo place them in the appropriate bucket and will anyone know how to access that bucket?  If doesn't work, is there a usable alternative that will make hashtagging worthwhile?

Getting found via Twitter is the same as getting your website found via Google.  It's all about content, using the appropriate keywords in your copy.  A Twitter Search for the term "marlies" gives me a real-time glance at Marlies buzz and includes my tweets with the aforementioned #marlies hashtag.

Twitter needs a keyword field or tagging system that doesn't devour those precious 140 characters.

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