I’ll admit, I am coming very late to the hashtag bandwagon. For years, I’ve seen the # symbol under posts on Twitter, Instagram, and now even Facebook, and wondered why they were there and what their purpose was. I ignored them as pesky little addendums that served little or no purpose.
I finally was awakened to the importance of the little symbol in the fabulously informative course I took last month: Social Media and Digital Culture, taught by Dr. Gina Masullo Chen. (If you are interested in learning more about how to use social media I highly recommend this class!) Hashtags are used as a sort of index system to make posts on different topics easily accessible and searchable.
I had a real eureka moment recently when I posted photographs to my professional Instagram (which can be accessed on the right sidebar and here). I had posted a few photos in the past without hashtags and didn’t receive many likes, comments, or follows. I decided to put my new working knowledge of hashtags to good use and added many relevant tags to my most recent photos— including #photojournalism, #portrait, and #blackandwhite.
It was a pretty exciting experience when the steady stream of likes started coming in to my notifications! Before, my photos were getting one to three likes. My most recent photo currently has 15. This really drives home the idea to me how important hashtags are to getting yourself noticed in the sea of social media. I hope to grow my presence more and more this year.