Hashtag Etiquette

I tweet. A lot.

(In case you’re not following me yet, I’m @kwidrick and @growingbolder and also sometimes @fitblogchats.)

I know that for some people, especially those who follow a relatively small number of people. my tweets can be overwhelming and sometimes annoying.

And a few weeks ago, I got an email from someone who let me know that she was sick of it, especially as it pertained to #Fitblog, a hashtag that can generate several thousand tweets in an hour.

I explained that there are several ways to try and block the tweetstream:

  • Muuter.com, which allows you to temporarily mute or ignore specific people, hashtags, keywords or other data
  • Filtering out the hashtag and/or specific people on Tweetdeck
  • Unfollowing me (sad)
  • Staying off of Twitter during our peak chat times on Tuesday nights (not good advice, but I had to throw it out there)

But none of the options seemed good to her, and I understand why. She would either have to allow a third party application to access her account (Muuter) or change her own behavior.

She gave me a suggestion back — to encourage people to start accounts JUST for taking part in #Fitblog, so she and others could continue to follow main accounts but not get sucked into the crazy Twitter streams that happen during chats.

I don’t think that works, either, because I’d be asking people to run multiple accounts, and it would defeat the main purpose, which is giving people exposure to lots of new friends (and bigger followings, too!).

All of this led me to ask my own Twitter followers what their biggest pet peeves are when it comes to hashtags, and they had some interesting answers:

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/#!/letitgo8/status/93395294456254465″]

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/#!/AliOnTheRun1/status/93395496487489536″]

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/#!/gagagrapefruit/status/93395509015875585″]

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/#!/HealthyTwists/status/93396079978094592″]

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/#!/maddyhubba/status/93397481093730304″]

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/#!/ChickGetsFit/status/93397891040821248″]

Now I want to know what YOU think? What are your pet peeves on Twitter, especially as it pertains to hashtags? What rules would you write if you could?

More interesting reading from others:

And of course, we’d love to have you take part in #Fitblog any Tuesday night at 9pmET — if you aren’t sure how to get started, check out our FAQs and Twitter Tips!



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  1. says

    I’m with @ChicksGetsFit on this one. I hate people who use hashtags that isn’t really related to the subject matter. For instance, there seems to be a large group of people who think that “#run&telldat” is a hashtag. Unfortunately, punctuation breaks the tag and I have to hear their relationship advice.

    When I first joined twitter I noticed a spammer who kept sending a vulgar message about “Sex is not a #marathon (yes they used a hashtag), so slow down and….” Apparently this person didn’t realize that marathons are events that last hours…

  2. says

    I don’t have any hashtag pet peeves. I think hashtags are so funny! Heck, I find myself saying ‘hashtag’ IRL, like at Nicole’s courthouse wedding, I said, “Yayyy! Now you are hashtag legally not spiritually married.” LOL

  3. says

    I also agree with ChickGetsFit. I’ve seen a lot of tweets that use the current trending hashtags, without being related at all, just to get attention.
    On the other hand, I’m often not quite sure, which hashtags I should use for my own tweets. I think, #fitblog is ok for most fitness/exercise related topics, right? Some advice on how to choose the right hashtags would be very useful!

  4. says

    There are a few people I know that will tweet how mad they are about #fitblog “clogging up their feeds”. I reach out with the muting options and they snark back still with there are better forums for chats like this. It’s frustrating to see Twitter being used for what it was built for, then people trying to bring it down. BAH.

    • says

      I agree with you Alicia. Twitter was created for people to connect in meaningful ways. Some people will never be happy no matter what option you give them. People who have an issue with the #fitblog hashtag – here’s a solution for you: Twitter Lists! Use them! Why do we have to quiet down our positive community? #thatwasmyrantkeepontweetingfitblogpeeps

  5. says

    I agree with Caitlin … hashtags don’t bother me! I don’t say that in real life (yet), but I will sometimes catch myself typing them into other documents I’m working on.

    I also want to say that while I know the goal is to encourage people to follow, not unfollow, if someone is really irritated by something that I tweet often, then I would ask “Well, why are you following me?” Obviously I’m interested in healthy living and fitness, and #FITBLOG is a part of what I’m interested in tweeting about. It’s not like this person can’t find you on other social media outlets if she needs to get in touch with you, and while your tweets are entertaining, we all lived and communicated successfully before Twitter. If someone is irritated enough to take 15 minutes to engage in an email conversation with you, I would wonder why she just didn’t take 5 seconds to click “unfollow.”

    • says

      Yes, this. If you like what I tweet about, then you’ll ignore the hashtag (especially with chats). If the hashtag is too annoying, then unfollow.

  6. says

    It bugs me how overused some hashtags are, especially ones like fitblog, runchat and hls. Just because you blogged about healthy eating or a workout doesn’t mean it needs to be hashed with any of those. A blog post can just be a blog post.

  7. says

    I don’t really have any pet peeves with hashtags except maybe ones that are OVERLY excessive with links (like a link and 10 hashtags) or like someone said when it doesn’t relate at all.

    And as for #fitblog – I think the way you have it running works great and muuter is the best option. It never bothers me. Even when other chats I don’t participate in are going with a lot of tweets.

  8. says

    There are no rules for hashtags. The idea of hashtags was created by a user, not Twitter. As a business I find hashtags useful because I can reach people that do not normally follow me. As a user I find hashtags useful so I can find information on topics I am interested in without following people and overpopulating my stream. I like it when tweeps work their hashtags into their tweet instead of tacking a bunch of hashtags onto the end of a tweet.

    If you are worried about people complaining about your tweets then you can change your behavior or just accept that you can satisfy everyone and continue doing what you are doing.

  9. says

    So, I got blasted the other day because someone was annoyed by my facebook daily mile posts. They also make fun of me for my FB status updates. Then to see people get so mad about twitter hashtags… Here’s the deal, the joy of social media is that you can choose you who want to follow. If the person you are following is doing things that annoy you, stop following them. If your friend on FB posts things you don’t like, hide them or defriend them. And then you’re annoyance is over. I don’t even know what twitter would be for if people didn’t post things. If the hashtag is unrelated, maybe it’s you who doesn’t understand the hashtag vs the person being stupid. Just my opinion but why are we all so mean to each other about what we post? If someone posted that, they must like that or think that, so why blast them and try to make them feel bad?

  10. says

    I don’t worry about #hashtags too much. I don’t use them excessively because my main twitter is private and they won’t show in the hashtag stream anyway.

    When I use hashtags from my public twitter accounts, I intend for them to show up in the stream. However – have you ever checked some of the random hashtags streams…? I suggest that you all do that sometime… you may think twice. For example… trending the other night was #whentwitterwasdown (… let’s just say: TMI).

    I do like hashtags that allow for following a convo or event, such as #CFBlogCon – very helpful.

  11. says

    I use Echofon on my iPhone for twitter primarily (which is why I never got into the fitblog thing… I’d have to get on my laptop at dinner time) and it has a built in mute option. Only problem… I can’t figure out how to UNmute.

    I don’t get all worked up about hashtags, there are bigger things to worry about. I just wish I could use them better myself. I’ll think I’ve got a good one, then I check and I’m the only one using it. Sad.

  12. says

    I think what most people don’t get is, unless people know what hashtag to look for, they’re not finding it anyway. (outside if it streaming thru your lineup) When you make up a hashtag its going to take awhlie for anyone outside your stream (who also needs to be looking) to even find it. That said, some are pretty funny. I do love how she wants you and/or all your other followers to change rather than she llift a finger. Makes me wonder how she’ll ever get fit if she can’t even make a simple change with Twitter – which she’s obviously also spending a bizzare amount of time on so that this would bother her. I use twitter professionally and I’m not even on enough for something like that to bother me! Do what you do and let her deal. Why should you change helping people because one person is lazy?!

  13. says

    Hashtags make it easy to search Twitter and find posts/people you might be interesting in following or learning more about. Seriously, how annoying can they be? I mean, sure you get extraneous Tweets every once in a while but so what? At 140 characters or less, it’s easy enough to ignore.

  14. says

    I have never given hashtags a lot of thought.. although now that you are asking, I do hate it when there are 5+ hashtags in the same tweet. But I like them! Both when they are useful so you can discover information about a topic (#TGFA)!! or when they are funny like Monica’s this morning (#timetoeateverything)–no, of course there won’t be more than a few (if even that) of her long hashtag, but it’s hilarious. I think that’s what I like most about hashtags. I will use them on Facebook just because they are funny and people get mad and ask “what are all these # symbols about?” –I tell them to get Twitter.

  15. says

    This may be rude, but I kind of think people are taking the whole thing a little too seriously. If someone’s twitter habits annoy you, unfollow them. That’s what I do. Maybe I’m being cynical, but I have seen a lot of legitimate tragedy in my life and work to care about whether or not #fitblog clogs up my twitter feed. There just seems to be bigger problems in the world.

    • says

      p.s. I’m not able to get onto the #fitblog chat as much now because I tend to have Tuesday night meetings, but when I scan the stream, I see such a great community of individuals who are having positive influences on one another. Keep up the good work Katy!

  16. says

    Ah, Sue, you said what I had meant to say. Using the hashtags just to get attention! It would be something like:

    I’m using the bathroom! #fitblog

    Now did they REALLY have to use the hashtag with the tweet? And yes, eventually if someone continues to do that over and over and over, I’d eventually remove them from my lists but it’s just plain abuse. It’s no different than posting 20 status updates in one day on FB, or replying to 100 tweets. At some point you exercise some control to respect those who are following you or are your friends.

    Twitter is a little different though; I sort of half expect that the feed would be flooded with more tweets than I can read, so a lot of times I let it go. Doesn’t REALLY bother me that much but it does sort of bother me if I’m trying to read about certain topics.

  17. says

    Great discussion! I dislike multiple hashtags in one post, but honestly, it’s like anything else – I have a choice to ignore it or I can unfollow a user if they do this excessively and it really bugs me. It’s amazing to me that people get so worked up about these little things. Makes you wonder how they get through life’s real problems. I saw a tweet from a twitter friend who said she hates daily mile updates…I thought about not sharing mine anymore, but I actually enjoy seeing people’s DM workouts, so I figure if it really bugs her, she’ll unfollow and I won’t even notice.
    I’m sure the people who get really worked up about hashtags feel the same about excessive RTs. There’s a business that I follow that RTs everytime someone mentions them. It’s silly, but again, I ignore.

  18. says

    Instead of complaining about it, why doesn’t she just join the conversation? Some people get too worked up about such trivial things. Fitblog is 1 hour out of 168 hours in the week. Can’t she just stay off of Twitter for that hour?

  19. says

    I don’t use hastags that often…mainly because I don’t know half of them. Lately I’ve been using the #denver tag a lot because I need feedback on my new city.

    I don’t have any real pet peeves with hastags, my biggest twitter annoyance is excessive RT’s. It drives me crazy. If your simply retweet (no addtl comments) constantly I’m not going to harass you about it, I’m going to unfollow you and be done with it.

  20. says

    The #fitblog and #runchat hashtags helped me find a community on Twitter that I really have connected with. I am not bothered by random or “excessive” hashtags (how excessive can you get with 140 characters?) and find some of the random ones amusing. Is there a program that makes it easier to make and manage lists? Twitter is just too cumbersome and while Tweetdeck is good for search columns, it doesn’t seem to help with lists.

  21. says

    As co-moderator of #runchat, I love seeing people use hashtags. I’ve connected with a lot of runners through #runchat and found a lot of blogs because people use that tag a lot. Can tags be overused? Sure. But I think if people are annoyed by them they just need to ignore it. Twitter is all about finding a niche. If people don’t like what people are tweeting, there’s a simple unfollow button.

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