A hashtag provides rallying point for conversation.

November 20, 2014
Hashtags are powerful tools for community-building and conversations

Hashtags are everywhere. We use them on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and yes, even in blog post titles. The ubiquitous hashtag (it's okay if you call it a pound sign) is where we go on the social web for connection-making, conversations, and to mix it up in either asynchronous and/or synchronous exchanges. Beginning with Twitter, hashtags are now present all over the social web. They provide a wonderful means of jumping into the stream of a specific topic.

For example, when Ashton Johnson used #DearDePauw in a tweet on November 7th, she created a rallying point that unlocked an ongoing conversation on Twitter, Facebook, blogs, and Yik Yak.

I first became aware of what was happening at DePauw University when a Google Alert email included an article from The DePauw titled: "#DearDePauw Makes an appearance on Social Media Websites." A quick search brought forth another article – "#DearDePauw: What’s it All About?" It turns out that what it's all about is a social justice issue that has been ongoing at DePauw. For an in-depth read, check out the countless tweets from students at DePauw. The hashtag has also been used on Facebook:


I love how something as simple as the inclusion of a hashtag on social media can turn a big issue at a small school into an even bigger conversation. We often talk about hashtags as a means to further engagement...well, here's a prime example. It will be interesting to see if things change at DePauw. Tweets, Facebook posts, and "yaks" are part of the flow for engagement, but in this case, they are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.


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