When you see this symbol: #, do you think of the pound sign or do you think of it as a “hashtag”? Though it was invented on Twitter, hashtags have made their way into many aspects of our lives, though most of them centered on entertainment. Beyond their popularization on social networks such as Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr, hashtags have found a permanent home on our news sources, movies and TV shows (just to state a few). If you’re a parent and you don’t know how hashtags work, then please read on as there are lots of important things to know.
In the world of social media, placing a hashtag in front of some text is a way to drop that comment or content (think tweets) into a topic of discussion. This topic can be anything since you can put a hashtag in front of anything. For example, you can compose a tweet like this:
Enjoying a beautiful day at #GoldenGatePark with my #family and friends. #lovinglife #SF
In this example, “GoldenGatePark”, “family”, “lovinglife” and “SF” all become part of that particular hashtag conversation, whether it already exists or not. Type one of these hashtags into Twitter or Facebook’s search bar and a feed of content with that hashtag will appear. This search technology has been expanded to also display content that simply includes those words, for example, “loving life” versus “#lovinglife”. Or, on Twitter for example, you can search for people who include that hashtag in their profile description and, for all intents and purposes, want to be discovered based on that particular interest.
Three good things about hashtags.
- Makes it very easy to follow a particular conversation, and ultimately gives people a way to sort through the billions upon billions of content out there in the social media world.
- Helps people connect with other likeminded people around the world.
- Helps businesses generate awareness, build a following, and do things like run promotions around specific events or trends.
Three things that aren’t so good about hashtags.
- It can put a huge spotlight on negative or inappropriate conversations. This happens a lot with cyberbullying.
- Because of how easy it makes it to sort through content, it gives spam and porn a much more impactful presence on social media.
- Frankly, they’re starting to get ridiculous because people #usehashtagsforjustabouteverything.
How Yoursphere is doing it differently
At Yoursphere, we’ve taken the idea of hashtags and turned it into something positive from the outset. Instead of typing in whatever hashtag they want, we put the focus on the positive attributes that naturally exist in our kids by giving our members a tool to recognize, or “tag”, others for just that! Via the content they create, any member in Yoursphere can be tagged by another member.
This feature has taken off in Yoursphere, and we’re really happy about that. We think it supports the idea that, if you give people the tools to be kind to each other, they will be. So, if your child or teen is looking for a fresh, new social experience that isn’t flooded with inappropriate content and ridiculous hashtags, tell them to check out Yoursphere. It’s free to sign up and we offer tons of ways to stay busy, create content and have fun, all while making new friends!