Last weekend I opined on Twitter that news outlets should start using location-specific hashtags for traffic updates. Just as Colorado has a wealth of opportunities for this (#i70eisenhower, #mousetrap, #6thFederal, #36turnpike), certainly other locales across the nation could make use of hashtags for folks searching for traffic updates and alerts. Caveat: you don’t want people searching on their phones while in traffic, unless they’re not in the driver’s seat. Thus posting these on overhead highway signs might not be the way to go.

There are limits to hashtag use. Or there should be.

Best practice for any update is to use no more than two hashtags – three if it’s absolutely necessary & you’d be doing a disservice by leaving it out. This gets particularly tricky with Twitter, since you only have around 120 characters of room (leaving the remaining 20 as room for someone to RT you).

Double-Check Your #

Yes, you are amazing and creative. However, that doesn’t mean someone didn’t use your hashtag idea first. Always do two checks on a hashtag you wish to use: one on Twitter, and one on Google. You can see who may have already used your brilliant hashtag idea and why.

If you think checking your hashtag is a waste of time, please click here and think again.

Bottom line: Just because Justin and Jimmy make a ton of hashtags funny doesn’t mean the rest of us should try.


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