A hashtag is a type of metadata tag used on social networks including Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Tumblr, allowing users to apply dynamic, user-generated tagging that makes it possible for others to easily find messages with a specific theme or content.
Campaigns usually use the same hashtag or hashtags on several platforms. To avoid confusion with other, non campaign related posts, usually unique hashtags are created/used.
Special, unique hashtags may also be used to categorize/filter all content that belongs to a certain topic. Fans use this to track and find content by using fandom unique tags. For example on tumblr, post for the movie The Fall were usually tagged with the hashtag #the fall. During the airing of the BBC Two Gillian Anderson crime show The Fall, users tried to establish the hashtag #bbc the fall to avoid accidental mistagging posts so that the wrong content would show up for people following the tag for the movie and vice versa.
Usage on Twitter
Hashtags are created and used in Fan Campaigns, especially on twitter. For this, special, unique hashtags are used by fans which the fans try to get to trend by creating a lot of posts within a certain time. Twitter recognizes popular tweets and displays those on a trending top 10 to every user. These top 10 can be tailored for regions and countries. The goal of this is to achieve attention by the general public, other fandoms or even TPTB and is also sometimes used as a marketing tool by companies to gain interest into their brand. If a person or brand doesn't have an official twitter profile (yet) instead of mentioning the profile, the name is also tagged with a hashtag.
Examples of Twitter Fan Campaigns
- #AbbieMillsDeservesBetter - Sleepy Hollow (TV series)
- Hannibal Fan campaigns - Fannibals had several twitter campaigns during the run of the show
- #backtofrankblack Back To Frank Black campaign (MillenniuM)
- #takeitdown (Teen Wolf)
- #lexagate (The 100)
- #XF3 (The X-Files)
- Renew Warehouse 13 campaign
- #RecastJace (Shadowhunters)
Usage on Tumblr
Hashtags on tumblr (more commonly known simply as tags) used for tagging content so other people can subscribe to tags and view it on their Dashboard. With the X-Kit tool it's also possible to blacklist certain tags so the can be blocked from appearing. This is handy to avoid spoilers or seeing unwanted content. Tumblr also uses some tag-wrangling logic which allows browsing of related tags. Fandometrics uses hashtags as a variable to determine how popular a topic is on tumblr. Explicit content can be tagged with nsfw which will hidden from the dashboard if the user activates the "hide not safe for work" content in their user settings.
Sometimes, instead of adding an actual comment to a post which will shown when reblogging, thoughts and comments may also added via hashtags to the post.
Tumblr also suggests popular tags to aid users in tagging posts.
Google+ supports hashtags and uses a tag-wrangling logic which allows browsing for related terms.
Hashtags on Instagram are usually used to describe aspects of the posted photo or video. Sometime product sponsors are also tagged with the hashtag, but if there is a profile, it's usually mentioned.
Youtube allows using hashtags in the video descriptions and user comments. This way other videos with the hashtag can be found.
A Note on Creating Fanlore Articles For Hashtag Campaigns
Fanlore uses a wiki software. In this the hashtag symbol # is reserved for creating anchor points in articles to link/jump to a certain section in an article. Trying to create articles that start with # won't work. Either use the campaign name without the hashtag or hashtagscampaign name (for example hashtagXF3) instead.