Twitter Newbies? Here’s How to Use Hashtags for Online Classes

– A Simple Guide for Online Education Students

Social media has changed the way that the world works, plays, communicates, and learns.  Today, more colleges than ever are encouraging professors and students to get connected on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.  While the first two are fairly self-explanatory, Twitter has a couple of things that sets it apart.  One of the most obvious is the fact that all messages must be extremely short – under 140 characters.  But the other is the use of hashtags.  While they may seem confusing at first, learning how to use hashtags on Twitter isn’t that difficult to do and can greatly enhance your experience with it.

  • Hashtags are simply the # symbol followed by a word or phrase.
  • This makes it easy for Twitter search engines to find the word or phrase in question
  • Clicking on a hashtag will provide a full list of all other tweets that contain that hashtag
  • You can also run searches for terms or phrases that will include the hashtag

Those are the basics.  Here’s an example of hashtags in action.  Say that you’ve just wrote a tweet about calculus.  End that tweet with this – #calculus and everyone who is reading or searching tweets related to calculus will see your tweet.  And if you’re looking for fellow Twitter users who are dealing with calculus as well, just searching for or clicking on your hashtag will show you related posts.

With that in mind, the basic uses for hashtags become clear.  They’re used to help filter out the constant barrage of tweets that you receive and make it easy to find tweets focusing on a specific subject.

Using hashtags for online education is easy as well if you remember a few basic things.

  • Use hashtags to connect with professors as well as fellow students.
  • Don’t use overlong or obscure hashtags, and don’t use dozens in one tweet.  Messages like this – #Iamstudying, #Calculus, #CapellaUniversity, #HateMath, #NeedHelp – aren’t going to do much good and will likely turn off some of your followers.
  • Try connecting with hashtags based on your subject, a specific question, or even the school you’re attending.  You’ll be surprised by the results that you get.
  • When you use a hashtag, be sure to attach it to a message that explains it.  Just tweeting #chemistry doesn’t tell a person much when they see your tweet.  But a tweet like this – Studying hard but can’t figure out proper PH for chemical #chemistry will tell a lot more about your mindset and your hashtag.
  • Also be sure that you’re posting some useful info as well.  If you see a relevant news story or article in a journal that applies to something, tweet it along with a hashtag about the subject and maybe the source.  You’ll attract followers and start to build a greater sense of community.

Like all technology, Twitter is a great tool when it’s used properly.  It can provide you with a huge range of different advantages and help you with your online education.  But you must use it properly.  The two keys to using it effectively for your education are to post meaningful tweets and to use hashtags effectively.  If you can do that you’ll be amazed at what happens as a result of your efforts.  It’s a brave new world out there, and Twitter can help you connect with it.  Keep the above points in mind and you’ll be well on your way to mastering it.