Those of us who have been immersed in social media for several years tend to forget, I think, how many people are just starting to dip their toes into this hyper social sharing world.

This last week I attended a News10 event that featured a social media panel discussion and then four breakout groups by platform expertise. I was reminded that many newbies are relying on us to avoid talking over their heads. One woman in the audience asked how does one or where does one buy a hashtag. Momentarily, the panelists seem to struggle with understanding her question until they realized how basic her need was. She didn’t know what a hashtag is.

A hashtag, for any social media newcomers who have stumbled upon my blog or are reading out of friendship more so than an infatuation for social networking, is the # sign and a word or a few words together without spaces that create a searchable topic, such as #socialmedia, on Twitter and also other platforms. Sometimes a hashtag in a tweet is used more for emphasis or dramatic effect than for search, as in #ICan’tBeliveIJustDidThat.

To those of you deciding to make social media part of your professional life, we welcome you. Thanks for the reminder that we need to simplify so everyone can participate.

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