A hashtag is a word embedded in a twitter message that allows for easy content searches platform-wide. The "#" symbol is placed just before the subject or keyword related to the Tweet. For example, Mount Mary uses #100years as our hashtag for the Centennial events. According to the Twitter blog, "Best Practices for Journalists,"
posted September 20, 2012 on Twitter's blog, Tweets with hashtags can increase engagement almost 100% for individuals and 50% for brands. "Journalists and news publishers use hashtags to organize conversations, gather feedback, and to identify and engage with Twitter users discussing a particular topic."
Once logged into Twitter, you can search a word or phrase to see if it is already used. There are reasons to use a popular hashtag and for developing a new one. Using a popular hashtag, such as #MKE, will ensure that your tweet makes its rounds to anyone looking for anything happening in Milwaukee. Using a specific and new hashtag, can aid in collaboration on a single project. For example, #KONY2012 was recently used to mobilize a global effort to alleviate oppression. A class specific or assignment specific tag, such as #EPW733 or #EPWmidterm, can collaborate the messaging for all who know to use the tag. This could be useful for small group collaborations or class discussions. But remember, nothing is private. A simple search for a particular hastag will bring up all tweets that included it, regardless of who sent them.