Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Affordances of Hashtags in Social Networking

With social networking websites such as twitter and facebook becoming part of everyday life, the demand of always being updated on current events is a must. That’s where hashtags come in. Hashtags are more than just a symbol in front of a word, but a vital tool of the social networking applications. Hashtags virtually pose as a search engine, relevancy tool, and organizational tool. It gives the user the opportunity to relay or find information based on their preferred keyword or phrase.

Thinking of a social network, as a search engine is not very practical, most think of Google or Bing. Twitter and facebook have search bars too, but when you search a word, you see a common theme; everything that comes up in your search is real time, and somewhere there’s a hashtag in front of the word you searched. The same goes with relevancy. Using a hashtag in your posts keeps your post or search relevant to the topic of your tweet/facebook post. There’s no other nonsense taking your mind off of what you’re looking at or talking about. Hashtags are also a great organizational tool. Hashtagging a word in or after your tweet/facebook post can be used for a person to look back on without having to read everything and already know what the post can entail.

Most importantly, hastags are a great broadcasting tool for social networks. Being able to relay information by putting one little symbol in front of a word is a great way to have people your post. It’s a contribution to the world of web 2.0 and a way of communicating with multiple people at once. It gives the opportunity for people from all ends to interact with each other about similar topics, which in return can expand people’s social networks. Hashtags are a vital part of social networking that is easy to do, understand, and work with. I think it’s only a matter of time before we start seeing them #everywhere.

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