People have always been searching for ways to improve social media so they can not only keep in touch with their peers but also share and talk about similar ideas on a specific topic. One of the more recent and now most popular social media mediums has successfully done this. People have wanted a simple way to connect their thoughts on a given topic with people around the world and Twitter has done just that with the introduction of the hashtag in 2006. The hashtag was originally introduced on Twitter as a way people could categorize their tweet and link it to any tweet that has the same hashtag. It started as a way for people to see other tweets with the same hashtag even if they are not following the person but it has now become a simple way for everyone to categorize their own thoughts and beliefs. The hashtag has created a revolutionary way to get details on breaking news or whatever happens to be trending that day.

Hashtags haven’t only changed the way we communicate by quickly categorizing each idea, but it has changed everything about businesses, politics, breaking news, sports and celebrities. If someone were to get bad service or a faulty product from a business, they aren’t going to write and mail in their complaint. Instead, they are likely to tweet a picture of whatever is wrong and create a hashtag that people can then add to. One of the biggest fears for business owners is a negative hashtag going viral and ultimately trending regionally if not internationally. A simple hashtag can ruin a business’s image far more than a letter of complaint could. A letter of complaint is hardly ever made public and the letter is usually only seen by the business itself but a hashtag will direct you to a list of similar complaints with just one click. This has given consumers immense power in the relationship and as well as increased communication between brands and their audience. Another advantage that hashtags offer companies is a cost-effective enhancement to traditional forms of advertising as seen during this year’s World Cup. By adding a hashtag to the end of a television commercial, a company can create a conversation between a worldwide audience.

Politically, hashtags have given candidates the ability to reach out and communicate to everyday people and respond to their questions or concerns. A hashtag can be used as a way  identify with which political party you support. It also allows for people to who wouldn’t normally be interested in politics to see different viewpoints about candidates to help make their decision when it comes to voting.

Hashtags allow easy and convenient two-way communication on a global scale. It allows us to connect with each other as well as businesses, celebrities, news and politics. It helps us to see the larger view of what is happening and what people are talking about. Using hashtags brings conversation to the forefront and helps us to find other people with similar interests or dislikes. It is important to businesses because using hashtags can encourage more conversation about your brand or industry as well as expand your range of current or potential customers. This will help in the way consumers and producers communicate and many believe hashtags will change the face of businesses forever.

–Brandon Hawkins, Bobby Huckabee, Tony Mangili, Danielle Salas, Savanna Mitchell