Hashtags are a form of metadata tag used on social media platforms to categorise content and make it easily discoverable by other users who are interested in a specific topic. They are created by adding the “#” symbol before a word or phrase without spaces or special characters. For example, “#travel” or “#fitnessgoals.”

Hashtags serve several purposes:

  • Content categorisation: When a user includes a hashtag in their post, it becomes a clickable link that allows others to find and explore other posts that use the same hashtag. This helps in organising and grouping similar content together.
  • Content discovery: Hashtags enable users to discover posts and topics they are interested in by searching for or clicking on specific hashtags. It allows them to explore content beyond their immediate network of followers.
  • Trend identification: Hashtags often become trending topics when many users start using them simultaneously. By monitoring trending hashtags, users can stay updated on popular discussions, events, or news.
  • Community engagement: Hashtags facilitate conversations and engagement among users with shared interests. By including a relevant hashtag in their posts, individuals can join conversations, participate in challenges, or connect with like-minded users.

Different social media platforms have varying degrees of hashtag functionality and popularity. Twitter is particularly known for its association with hashtags, where they originated and gained widespread usage. However, hashtags are now widely used on platforms like Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, LinkedIn, and others, making them an integral part of social media culture.