Before the Internet, what we called the # symbol depended on where you lived. In the U.S. and Canada, it was called the pound sign or the number sign. The Brits and the Irish called it a hash. According to Wired magazine, Stowe Boyd first used the term “hashtag” as a programming term.
Today, social platforms use that symbol as a tool to categorize and search for information. Twitter began supporting hashtags as a search function in 2009. Instagram has used them since 2010. Facebook added them in 2013.
Up until recently, virtually every social platform supported the use of hashtags except LinkedIn. That has changed.
Some of you may know that I was invited to be part of the LinkedIn Influencer program in the fall of 2012. There were 150 included in the initial group. Today, there are about 600. I tell you this because one of the benefits of being part of this program is an exclusive monthly newsletter and webinar keeping us updated on what’s new and what’s coming.
LinkedIn’s Use of Hashtags
On last month’s webinar Daniel Roth, Editor in Chief at LinkedIn, shared with us the upcoming changes in the use of hashtags on the LinkedIn platform. He said that hashtags would become increasingly more important to use in posts and articles. He suggested that we begin using hashtags now to be ready for when they roll out additional capability.
As an Influencer I get first access to these types of LinkedIn updates, so you may not yet see the use of hashtags on your account. However, they are coming soon.
Up until a few weeks ago, I never used hashtags on LinkedIn posts or articles. It just wasn’t appropriate. You will now see me using hashtags extensively to categorize and tag various posts and articles that I add to the platform.
Here’s a screenshot from my account so you can get an idea of how and where the hashtag functionality is showing up.
The blue box shows the new “Your Communities” function. The Pinned hashtags are ones you want to use often so that they are readily available to you. The mobile app also has the hashtag functionality.
The main picture at the top of this post shows the screen that appears when you click the “Discover more” link shown at the bottom of the blue box. You can also search for hashtags of topics that you will follow in the standard search box on the top left of the screen.
My recommendation is to begin using hashtags on any post or article that you add to the platform. Hashtags do make it easier for others to find your content based on the topic.
If the hashtag functionality has made it to your account, have you begun using it? If so, how are you using it? Share your comments below.