Learning how to find hashtags and search hashtags on Twitter can be challenging because there are so many tag research tools and they change all the time. Twitter tags are useful for organizing tweets into related conversations, but it takes thought, research planning to use them smartly.First, let's review the basics. Twitter hashtags are simply words or phrases preceded by the hash symbol or pound sign (#), which people insert into their tweets to make them more easily searchable by topic.
Their value is in classifying tweets so they become part of a topical conversation, which gives individual tweets more context. As a practical matter, using a #hashtag allows tweets related to a particular topic to be found when people search on the tag or keyword.
Obviously, tweets tagged with the same tag are supposed to relate to the same topic, which is why people consider them part of a Twitter "conversation."
Why Use Tags on Twitter?
Twitter experts have found that even though using tags can annoy some readers, they often help attract followers and can lead to more retweeting of messages.
There are no real rules or standards to follow when creating tags on Twitter. Anyone can make one up and use it however they like. Twitter tag usage is pretty much a free-for-all and can be chaotic.
How to Find Hashtags with Directories and Lookups
A variety of third-party tools exist to help people research words used in conversations on Twitter in order to identify popular tags and get a better idea of how any particular keyword or phrase is used.
Read more in this article about strategies for creating hashtags if you want tips for identifying and creating a tag that will prove useful.
Then consult this sampler of tools to help you identify tags on Twitter and search hashtags for the one that's right for you:
- Hashtags.org -- Hashtags.org is considered the leading directory of its kind. It maintains a large database of keywords used on Twitter, letting people analyze and track their popularity.
- What the Trend -- What the Trend is another leading site for tracking keywords. The most popular topics on Twitter at any given moment are known as "trending topics," and What the Trend monitors those. What the Trend invites users to contribute to a description or definition of popular hashtags and keywords to help explain what makes them interesting to so many people.
- Twitter Search -- You can also enter #yourhashtag into the Twitter search box to see a real-time list of tweets that are using your tag.
- Trendistic -- Trendistic lets people track popular topics trending on Twitter and compare the relative popularity of keywords. It displays charts of how the usage of keywords fluctuate at hourly intervals and weekly intervals and even monthly.Trendistic allows you to watch trends in word usage on Twitter by comparing the popularity of different words and phrases over time.
- Tagdef -- Tagdef tracks trending tags that are growing more popular and offers definitions for them or explanations of what they mean. Tagdef, for example, said #phnm stands for "Patriot's Hearth Network Media website." One fun feature on tagdef is the "random top 1000" button. Clicking it will display a random selection from the top 1000 hashtags with its definition.
- Twubs -- Twubs is a site allowing people to create Twitter groups around different kinds of content relating to particular tags on Twitter. Twubs also has a useful collection of tag categories, such as popular twub groups, popular conference-related twubs and topical category lists. Like many of these sites, Twubs allows you to register any particular tag to ensure it's tracked on twubs.
- Tagalus -- Tagalus is an interactive, user-generated directory of many thousands of tags. People who come to the site write definitions for tags and can rate various definitions to determine which is deemed most relevant to how a particular one is actually used.
- Twemes -- Twemes is basically a real-time timeline of hashtags that helps people identify and monitor tweets containing popular keywords as they are sent. The word "twemes" is a mashup of "twitter" and "memes" and means tweets containing popular tags.