At one point in my efforts to build a larger blog following, I heard that having a presence on Twitter is critical. I set myself up there, but I still don’t think I’m using it properly. It’s as if I’m squatting in the brush, swinging an electron microscope to smash my way into a termite mound.
As a case in point, I still haven’t quite grasped the whole “hash-tag” thing. On Twitter and other social media sites, it seems to be the preferred way of maximizing a message’s relevance to a given topic – but more often than not, it just seems to be really overused. For those of you who are even more clueless than I, the “hash-tag” apparently involves putting a pound sign in front of a bunch of topical words – and by “topical” I mean “random“. How or when some unknown entity decided to change the pound sign into a hash-tag is a mystery to me. Lord only knows what people are supposed to use for a pound sign now.
A friend recently posted the following on her Facebook page: Newwwww hair #ombre #hairr #ahhhhh #ihave2getusedtoit #craycray #stylishh #mommydontlike #too2badd #mee #webstagram. I had to cut and paste it so I’d get it exactly right – I was worried I might mispell “Newwwww”. Thanks to a couple of anthropology courses in college, I was able to deduce that this message was either about her new hairstyle or a desperate cry for rescue from the voices in her head.
I went to Twitter to investigate, and found all the posts with the hash-tag “mommydontlike”. Some D-list celebrity had written something moderately witty and 117 people had re-Tweeted it. Otherwise, there wasn’t much to see.
The next logical place to look was Webstagram, but I mistakenly typed in “Instagram”. I believe Instagram has something to do with doctoring pictures from your cell phone to make them look artsy. It bills itself as “A fast, beautiful and fun way to share your photos with friends and family”. I’m sure that the folks at Instagram are accurate in their description, but I don’t know if I’m ready for it.
I found that Webstagram is a site which bills itself as a “the best Instagram web viewer”. Instagram already advertises that you can share your photos to Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter, but Webstagram implies that their site is an even better place to show ones photos. I’m not sure if Webstagram is any better for Instagram pictures, but one thing is for sure; it’s another place to display your pictures. When I typed in one or two of the hash-tags on Webstagram, I found my friend’s photo. I knew it was hers because I had already seen the pic when she posted it with the original hash-tag fest on Facebook. It was only the one photo, and it really didn’t show her new(newwwww) hairstyle, but that’s just #myyy#biggphat#opinion. For those of you keeping track at home, that makes the score – Photos: 1 Hash-Tags: 13
After my first proofread of this mess, I realized that posting it with my friend’s original hash-tags might result in my many followers getting a good look at this girl’s hairstyle, and she might not want anyone to see her photo except everyone else in cyber space. I took the liberty of doctoring some of the hash-tags so that only the most persistant of stalkers could figure it out.
After all this screwing around, I still haven’t figured out what the hell hash-tags can do for me.
I’ve tweeted a fair amount, and some of my Tweets were pretty darn clever, which is tough for me to do in 140 characters. In addition, every time I post a blog, there’s an automatic link which shows up as a Tweet by me. I’m not really sure if those Tweets have resulted in a single hit on the blog. Let’s face it, the vast majority of Twitter subscribers are running low on attention spans by the time they reach around the 73-character mark. It’s an awful lot to expect them to click on the link and read one of my 1000 word treatises on constipation.
I decided to take the bull by the horns and post my own hash-tagged topic and see if anyone took the bait. On Easter Sunday, I created a holiday-related hash-tag with my own quip following it. I know none of you saw it, so here it is: #asparagusscentedpee one of Easter’s less celebrated traditions. To date, no one has hopped on board. Now that Easter is sooo last week, my snazzy hash-tag may as well have been carved onto a stone tablet and buried in the yard.
I estimate that my Twitter presence will continue to be a non-factor until I’m at least as famous as a D-list celebrity. Till then, I’m just going to try to work at keeping my posts under 1000 words and hang onto my day job.