Today’s guest blog is by Mandy Reinig, Founder and Owner of Mandy’s Mashups. Mandy is one of our field’s social media specialists and is always generous with her knowledge. You can follow her on Twitter at @MandysMashups.
Social Media has grown in recent years and you can find references to it everywhere, from television to radio to college websites. One of the most interesting features of social media relates to tags and there widespread use. Tags are mostly associated with Twitter posts. In Twitter lingo, tags are called hashtags and feature this symbol – #. Hashtags can now even be found at the bottom of your TV screen during nightly television. Have you ever wondered what the little bit of text at the bottom of the screen meant and wonder why they would be a pound (#) sign and the name of the show there (ex. #thevoice, #amazingrace, etc.)? These hashtags play an important role especially for those who are attending events or want to participate in an event without being there. By searching for a particular hashtag, you can have access to up to the minute information about what is going on at a particular event.
Hashtags are basically search terms without the spaces. For example, if you will be going to the NAFSA conference in Houston, Texas in May you will want to search for #NAFSA12. In fact, if you search for it now you will already find posts related to this event.
There are several ways you can use hashtags to maximize their effectiveness.
- Use them to find out which sessions or parts of a particular event are must sees
- Promote your session or event
- Let others know you are participating in an event (eg. A #MelibeeU on-line webinar) to help create a buzz
- Be in the know before anyone else (many events use hashtags to announce special events early or only via social media)
- Access conference or other materials even when you cannot be present
- Ask questions of presenters and conference attendees without even being there
- Network with people who have similar interests
All of these ideas can be accomplished simply by using a hashtag. Additionally, if you are participating in an event and don’t see a hashtag being used, don’t be afraid to create one yourself. It is always appreciated when you help create a buzz around any topic or event.
Other useful hashtags include:
To learn more about how to effectively use social media please join me for my next webinar – Tips for Successfully Using Social Media in International Education on March 13th at 2pm EST.
About the Author: Mandy Reinig is the Owner and Founder of Mandy’s Mashups, a small company created to train individuals and groups on how to effectively use social media, particularly within the international education field. Additionally, Mandy is the Director of International Education at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, where she works with both incoming and outgoing students wishing to undertake an adventure abroad.