Why the #hashtag obsession will die out quickly now


So I had a quick Twitter convo this morning about hashtags with @smartco and @benjaminellis and it got me thinking about whether we really need them.


To me, hashtags were useful at the beginning of Twitter’s life, it was a way of tagging subjects and immediately track trending topics.

Rightly so, both Ben (@benjaminellis) and Anne Marie (@smartco) state that they can create focus and filter out the noise. But to me in a bid for that filtering mechanism people have also created so many variants of the same thing it’s hard to stay on track with which is the right one. It’s almost like a mini competition to find the best and most popular to use for any given subject.


Now with Twitter, Instagram and Facebook all touting #tags it’s getting a little out of control and noisy again. What’s more, finding the time to create a hashtag that’s meaningful yet within the confines of character limits (in Twitter’s instance) can become a bit of a chore.


But just how relevant is it all anyway ? We all know search capabilities have gone far beyond where they were in 2007. Searching on a hashtag reveals the same results as searching without one so the point of it has become a little less important and more of a psychological effect. Indeed, I see less tagging from savvy users and more from newcomers and the abstract.


So, I say that the original use case for the hashtag is no longer valid, that it doesn’t in fact create focus and filters, and with the evolution of search stepping up there’s very little point in it. #Byebyehashtags


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Categories: Social / Collaboration

Author:Theo Priestley

"I had more creative ideas from Theo in 6 months than I have had in 6 years from most people." Theo Priestley is one of the most recognised independent technology industry influencers and evangelists, ranking in the Top 100 thought leaders across Virtual/ Augmented Reality, FinTech, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Internet of Things and future trends. Theo has written insights for Forbes, Wired, The European Magazine, Venturebeat to name a few, and has been interviewed for many online publications including the BBC on his thoughts on technology and the future. A regular paid keynote speaker and panelist at conferences and events, Theo is engaged for his forthright views and isn't afraid to challenge conventional thinking and the marketing hype surrounding the industry when presenting, never pulling punches to get the message across on how technology can be applied to improve business and the customer experience. He has also successfully organised and run TEDx and Ignite events. Highly active across social networks, he sits in the Top 1% for social media engagement on Kred and Klout and is constantly sharing articles and his analysis that he feels his audience would be interested in. Theo is also active in the startup community, mentoring within UK and US accelerators and sits on a number of advisory boards. Former VP and Chief Technology Evangelist at a Top 25 European enterprise software company with a career spanning both innovation strategy and delivery of software and business change in Financial Services, and as an independent technology industry analyst. Follow Theo on Twitter @tprstly or connect here directly for constant insights on tech and marketing trends. • Top 1% Influencer on Kred (915) • Top 1% Influencer on Klout (70+) • 12,000+ Followers on LinkedIn • 13,000+ Followers on Twitter • Recognised Top Influencer in AI, Virtual/ Augmented Reality, Fintech, IOT and Wearable Tech, Big Data and Analytics.

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2 Comments on “Why the #hashtag obsession will die out quickly now”

  1. March 28, 2013 at 6:15 am #

    Theo, I totally agree. I’ve tested search features with and without hash tags and there is no real advantage to using them from that perspective (that use case). They have evolved into more of what I’ll call “campaigns” and ways of being clever.

    What I mean is someone will start a “campaign” using a hash tag, like “#CoolThingsToEat” people gravitate to it and it goes “viral” (#IHopeICanGetAViralTweet). It becomes a campaign of sorts that people can watch pretty clearly.

    The other way is just trying to cleverly summarize their entire tweet. They’ll tweet a statement, the follow it up with a hash tag the summarizes the tweet in about 4 words. I say, just say the four words and go on about it.

    I’ve moved away from using them for the most part because it wastes Twitter characters.

  2. March 31, 2013 at 2:52 pm #

    only if one doesn’t do anything with hashtags except use them as pedestrian tags, besides working as an aid to search a hashtag can also punctuate, highlight, refute, undermine thru sarcasm, and more. They are most useful acting as channels in IRC chat kinda-way, like say #auspol #lateline which are now a major part of the media mix and conversation in Australia. The original use might have faded, but others have been found.

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