The #hashtag

Hashtags originated as a method for grouping tweets when tweeting via twitter. As I understand it, a hashtag may be defined as :

a hashtag is a contraction of a hash symbol (#) and a tag that is a method for identifying a post as a member of a group or topic area. A hashtag is generally located at the end of a message.

Labels, tags and hashtags all serve the same function of grouping posts for searchability. When blogging from blogger you are able to "label" your post through a separate structured data element allowing your posts to be filtered by that label. When using micro-blogging services popularized by twitter there is no similarly structured method available.

For example, the 2008 Olympics have just begun and I find myself tweeting about it. My first move was to google what if any hashtag was being used by tweeters. Of course there is! Turns out some twitter users in China created a blog and started using #080808 (08 AUG 2008) as the specific hashtag for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. One of my tweets reads:

"opening ceremonies were AMAZING!!! #080808 "

Using the #080808 hashtag allows my tweet to be searchable by twitter search sites like twitters very own search.twitter.com.