The Humble Hashtag’s Life of Hell

Hashtag, How to Use

Did you know that more than 300 million people use Twitter? I wonder what percentage of those users, ever use a hashtag responsibly. I don’t know about you, but I have come to hate hashtags and I realised this week that I need to reform. You see, I don’t hate hashtags in and of themselves, I just hate the way they are flagrantly abused daily on almost every social media platform known to man.

Last year I decided to simply rebel and stop using hashtags altogether as a silent (totally useless) rebellion. This year, I have decided that my contribution can’t save all the helpless hashtags out there. So, I’ll try and encourage others to use them in a (healthy) helpful way, by example.


The hashtag was originally used in information technology as a metadata tag. In the early days of Twitter, developer, Chris Messina suggested the use of the # to categorise and group topics on Twitter. His idea was largely ignored until the 2007 San Diego forest fires in Southern California. Then journalists embraced the idea and used a hashtag in content relating to the fires. The rest, as they say in the classics is hashtag history. In fact, the term ‘hashtag’ was officially added to the Oxford Dictionary in June 2014, owing to its widespread use on Twitter, social media and in microblogging.

Twitter frowns on the excessive use of hashtags and recommends a maximum of three hashtags in posts. Ideally, one each for the subject and place that pertains to the content, and if you absolutely must, a third. Exceeding these guidelines can apparently lead to your content being excluded or filtered from a search. Or worse (but I think better), the suspension of your account by Twitter. I would love to know if this has been enforced. Judging by how many offenders still shamelessly hit hashtags daily, I suspect it has not.

Believe it or not, hashtags have a real purpose. Using a hashtag creates a searchable link to enable you to join/ follow a conversation or thread.  Responsible bulk use creates a focus, which has become known as ‘trending’ on Twitter. A great concept in theory, until humans got hold of hashtags and stripped them of their credibility.

Hashtag Failures

There are several reasons why hashtags fail. Firstly, people are ignorant of the real function of hashtags and have come to see them as ‘cool’ (yes, I’m #old). People also tend to use varied spelling for the same event/ theme, thereby nullifying all potential value of optimising their conversations for searches.

How to use a hashtag, Words Count, Letitia MatthewsMy biggest personal grievance is that people spew hashtags all over their messages instead of forming meaningful sentences. Ironically, offenders possess the vocabulary to make 25 hashtags in one message. So, I have no option but to conclude they are simply too lazy to write coherent sentences. What many of these hyper-hash taggers don’t realise is that their content is then available in all kinds of very public places, irrespective of their public privacy settings on Facebook (or whichever social media you are hashtagging the heck out of) are set up to protect your images and content.

Let’s face it, nobody bothers to read all those hashtags anyway. So essentially, they are nothing more than an irritating waste of time and space, and the maybe meaningful message gets demoted to spam. Here’s the awful truth – hashtag crime doesn’t pay. Who is impressed by clever or complicated hashtags that are more long-winded than Mary Poppins’ #Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious? No one. Yes, they will be categorised by search engines around the globe, but their uniqueness earns them an obscurity that could just as well have bought them a ticket straight to the big black hole for all its worth. In other words, they are as good as silent in cyberspace.

You might think I am overboard – I respect that but consider the following…

Hashtags have been so widely abused that Instagram has even banned some hashtags for being too generic, or for specifically referring to illegal topics. Are there ways around it? Sure, but the problem exists to the point where penalties exist to curb the misuse of hashtags.

The Super Powers of Hashtags

Conversely, correctly used hashtags can generate enormous mileage for your message. Ccompanies and organisations use them effectively to facilitate discussions on specific topics and to engage viewers in dialogues over broadcasts or current affairs. Hashtags are used to distribute news and updates regarding emergencies and disasters, as well as for marketing and promotion of products, events and causes. Industry specific hashtags have also evolved and we now have bashtags, hashflags and even cashtags!

Savvy hashtag users research the most used hashtags relating to their subject or product and choose a select few to use with their content. You can even create your own hashtag on sites like  and  There you can register your hashtag and track it to measure the mileage in your marketing campaign. Provides users with the top 100 hashtags on Instagram, so you can optimise your message exposure like never before. They say that ‘Hashtags never die’ and irrespective of whether you think this is a good/ bad thing, the history of every hashtag is documented at .

Hashtag Best Practices

If you love hashtags and you have inadvertently been making their lives hell, cheer up. Now you can turn over a new leaf and use specific, carefully chosen hashtags to help you engage new audiences, connect with like-minded people, and participate in meaningful conversations. Take the time and effort to be more specific with your hashtags and you will be rewarded with more focused results. Be informed about the various guidelines set out for best hashtag practices on social media platforms. For instance, Twitter focuses on the subject and theme of your content, while Instagram recommends hashtags for descriptive purposes.

So, if you want your audience to take you seriously, bear the following in mind: – If your hashtags don’t contribute anything meaningful to the message, rather avoid using them altogether. Less is definitely more – avoid using more than three strategically chosen hashtags per content entry and keep them short and sweet. Also, remember that effective hashtags contain no capital letters, no spaces and no special characters and punctuation. Only small letters and numbers.


Help give hashtags the credibility they deserve, and they will reward you with highly optimised impact and exposure.If you need help or have any hashtag questions, please feel free to contact me.

Infographics – Marketing Magic in the Blink of an Eye.

Infographics. Even if you haven’t heard of them or consciously know what they are, I guarantee you have seen hundreds (conservatively speaking). How do I know for sure? Well, simply put, they are the best way of presenting processes and products in a logical, easy-to-follow visual manner. It’s widely accepted that our visual sense is the primary means of processing information. Not surprisingly, the human brain allocates 20% of its resources to visual function.

Info graphics, words count, design resourcesEasy to Process

It has been scientifically proven that humans can process images twice as quickly as written content. It has been said that we can process an image, and its meaning, in less than the blink of an eye. This alone is a good reason to maximise your message with the use of images and graphics.


Colour is another huge factor. Since the beginning of time, our species has associated aspects of life and survival with specific colours. For instance, red is associated with danger and fire. Blue is synonymous with water, the sky and oceans. Traditionally, colours were stereotyped – pink for girls, blue for boys, and so on. However, we live in an age where colour is pivotal to experiencing and expressing everything around us, and thankfully, all colours belong to all people:-).


Essentially, we are wired to respond to visual content. More importantly, we remember visual information more easily. From a marketing perspective, this is crucial. I am not saying that written content is obsolete (of course not! I am a writer:-). No, I am simply saying that graphics are equally important when trying to convey a message. Warning signs work, because we can quickly see, process and apply the visual information. Road signs are the same – we know that some signs with different shapes and colours represent different kinds of information. So, we process them accordingly, without a second thought.

Infographics are magical images that make modern marketing and design exciting and highly effective. They are visually appealing tools for explaining, summarising and presenting concepts. Now, processes and products are conveyed quickly and concisely in ways that are memorable. Tools

There are amazing infographic tools out there for people who enjoy being creatively involved in their own marketing content. If this is you, check out this amazing mega infographic bundle. It offers a wide variety of very useful and descriptive graphics that will help you to convey your visual message in the most meaningful way. It is available at a massively reduced price for a limited period., InfographicsIf you prefer a more vintage look, consider this bundle of vector elements  in colour and chalk images.

Whatever you choose, infographics will open a whole new market for your business, because they are mobile, web and print friendly., Infographic Creation

If you are not really into DIY design, then head on over to, where you can enlist the services of highly professional, gifted designers who can translate your concepts into stunning graphics. You have the freedom and flexibility to negotiate your deadline and budget.

Inforgraphics are proven marketing tools, that are increasingly being used to maximise brand power and exposure. See what they can do for your business today – you won’t be sorry.