Hashtag Tuesday: #creatinghashtags

We spent the first two weeks of our new Hashtag Tuesday feature giving you the origin and story of two great Twitter #’s…..thanks to my friend Joe Anthony. This week, it’s my turn and I wanted to talk about how cycling hashtags get started more than focusing on one specific tag.

Hashtags are synonymous with Twitter and in my opinion they are another one of the funky things that makes being a “Tweep” so very cool.  But in case you really don’t know what the whole Hashtag thing is all about…here’s a quick lesson.

Twitter Hashtags 101

Definition: The # symbol, called a hashtag, is used to mark keywords or topics in a Tweet. It was created organically by Twitter users as a way to categorize messages.

Hashtags: helping you find interesting Tweets

  • People use the hashtag symbol (#) before relevant keywords in their Tweet to categorize those Tweets to show more easily in Twitter Search.
  • Clicking on a hashtagged word in any message shows you all other Tweets in that category.
  • Hashtags can occur anywhere in the Tweet.
  • Hashtagged words that become very popular are often Trending Topics.

Example: Below, @marijolamarche added the hashtag before the words “Cycling”, “Paradise” and “PR” in her message referring to some tag words associated with a tweet about her Puerto Rico trip. The words are now a link to search results for all Tweets containing those words in the message.

Creating a Cycling Hashtag

Okay, so you’re on twitter and you want to create a cycling hashtag that will take off and get people tweeting about it.  Creating it is easy….but getting people to buy into it is another story.  @bikerly, @egggman, and I took #bikeschool and have had great success with it in Twitterville (but we’ll talk more about #bikeschool in an upcoming Hashtag Tuesday feature).  But I’ve seen a whole bunch of Cycling #’s that didn’t make it past one tweet.

Here’s some tips on how to make your Hashtag stick:

Length: Create a fairly short hashtag that is quite easily recognizable and definable.  I’ve seen things like #howwasyourridetoday and #izacyclist and kind of see why they didn’t take off.  An abbreviation or acronym can work as long as it’s a common topic….#NAHBS may not look like it would catch on, but because it the common acronym for the North American Handmade Bicycle Show, it works.

Excitement: Create a hashtag that gets people excited or is something they are passionate about.  We all love and are excited about riding so it’s no surprise that area specific cycling tags are very popular (#bikeLA, #bikeTO, and #bikeUK)

Relevance: It seems like hashtags work very well when they relate to what is being mentioned in a tweet.  #cycling, #bicycle, #whyweride, and other relevant cycling hashtags continue to get used due to their relevance to what is being tweeted out.

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