Are you late to the social networking party? No worries. It took me a long time to get into the whole social networking thing, but I’m glad I did. It’s definitely been a beneficial experience.
Although Facebook continues to defend its position as the most popular social networking platform, you shouldn’t focus all of your attention there. As they say, don’t keep all your eggs in one basket. Where else can you go? Twitter! Twitter is a great resource for social networking, but especially so for writers. By taking advantage of hashtags, you can separate the useless and boring tweets from the ones that are interesting and pertinent.
What Are Hashtags?
Have you ever seen a tweet include a word or phrase preceded by a pound sign? For example, a few months ago, Charlie Sheen’s #winning hashtag went viral. It’s called a hashtag because the ‘#’ is sometimes called a ‘hash,’ and using hashtags is a way for you to insert searchable tags and keywords into your tweets.
There are thousands of different hashtags floating around the Twitterverse. Many of them are important and useful, and many more of them are absolutely meaningless. Why? Because anyone can make up a hashtag. A hashtag only becomes meaningful when a large number of Twitter users give it meaning.
If you ever encounter a hashtag that you’ve never seen before, use TagDef to look it up. You’ll likely find a definition posted there unless the hashtag is obscure. In that case, you probably won’t even want to know what it means.
Twitter Hashtags For Writers
#amwriting / #amediting – Of all the Twitter hashtags that could possibly be relevant for writers, these two blow every other out of the water. Both #amwriting and #amediting are Twitter “chat” hashtags and you’re welcome to join in at any time. These two tags have grown so popular that there is even a web community over at AmWriting.org.
#wordcount – This tag is used by writers who want to share their up-to-date progress on whatever project they’re working on. Be prepared to see a lot of numbers!
#nanowrimo – If you’re a novelist, you’ve probably heard of NaNoWriMo. This is their community hashtag.
#ww / #writerwednesday – Every Wednesday, Twitter users use this hashtag as a way of giving shout-outs to other writers, particularly the ones that they enjoy following. At least, that was its original purpose. Nowadays, this tag is used for all manner of writing-related activities on Wednesday.
#askagent / #askauthor / #askeditor — There are times when you have a question for agents, editors, and authors. Unfortunately, you may not know any agents, editors, and authors. Who can you ask? If you ever find yourself in that situation, use these hashtags. Agents, editors, and authors browse these hashtags and will often answer the questions that pop up.
#writingprompt — Writing prompts are a great way to jumpstart your creative juices. Search Twitter for this hashtag and you’ll find hundreds and thousands of great writing prompts that you can use.
#99c — Nowadays, a lot of products are priced at the $0.99 price point – and e-books are no exception. Many authors sell their stories for $0.99, and many of them use this hashtag to notify potential readers. Use this tag if you’re looking for something at this price, or if you’re looking to sell your own work.
If you’re a regular Twitter user and you aren’t using hashtags, shame on you. Hashtags are not only a great way to find topical tweets, but also a fantastic way to get your topical content out there.
Whether you’re sharing or consuming content, do it with tags. All the cool kids are doing it, and for good reason. Hashtags are awesome!
Which writing-related hashtags do you use the most? Do you use any of the ones above? If so, how useful do you find them?