April 4, 2018

Hashtag stuffing and misuse: Bad for you!

Hashtag (#) is used in the web world for labeling an expression as important and for associating with a social media trend.

Twitter gave this little character an important place in social interactions, and it soon became sort of generic across the social media. 

Twitter remains the biggest user of hashtags. It uses hashtags for curating all tweets associated with a hashtag and also estimating number of tweets being published on a topic over a period of time.
 
hashtag-abuse
More characters, more hashtag abuse

Hashtag, especially on Twitter, is very useful in gathering support for a cause or against a social or political happening (#SaveGirlChild, #GunControlNow), showing one's approval or disapproval for some action by a leader/ political party or supporting someone in a big way (#ModiFor2019,  #PutinsPuppets), public commenting on excellent or disastrous performance by a player, singer, performer (#Barcelona), tagging all information relating to an event (#hurricaneIrma) or just associating one's tweets with its topic (#blogging, #SEO, #parenting).

There are numerous instances of hashtag being abused. Though Twitter itself has advised not to have more than 2 hashtags in a tweet, people have been using more than that number and putting irrelevant expressions. Sometimes, they hijack the main discussion. With their unwanted intrusion, they kill the importance of generic hashtags. 

An example of how misuse of hashtags hurts good discussion on Twitter is #blogchat. As the name suggests, people expect this hashtag on tweets that discuss blogging matters. In fact, there is a group that coordinates good discussion every Sunday night (American time) on blogging, using this hashtag. However, there are hundreds of other twitterati who use this hashtag just to be counted wherever this term comes. In most cases, their tweets have nothing to do with blogging.

Extreme examples of abuse of hashtags is when there is hardy anything worthwhile in the tweet other than hashtags.

Things become worse when people post hashtag-stuffed tweets through automated apps. 

Twitter has been discouraging abuse and misuse of hashtags but does not seem to be doing much to penalize the  culprits. This has emboldened the misusers, and after Twitter raised the character limit of Tweets to 280, tweets are seen with double the number of hashtags.

Some twitterati might also be over-using hashtags not knowing the spirit behind hash-tagging. They seem to be stuffing their tweets with their own numerous hashtags (which in any case, do not help in any way) thinking that every important word needs to be hash-tagged.

We had carried a detailed article earlier on how to effectively use hashtags. The present one is an extension of the same and to show how this useful feature is being further misused and abused with Twitter's 280 character-limit and Twitter not taking sufficient action.

No comments:

Post a Comment