Following on from our previous post, Hashtags for Translators Part I, which dealt with the different hashtags commonly used by translation professionals, we’ll now delve deeper into the world of hashtags by mentioning a few of their specific uses. What can you do with hashtags? Why are they useful? How do people make use of them? Let’s take a look at a few specific examples…
Keep up to date with industry-related news
As previously mentioned (see Hashtags for Translators Part I), hashtags allow you to filter tweets by category/subject. Simply choose your hashtag, say #xl8, type it into the search box at the top of your Twitter page, hit return and you’ll be presented with all the recent tweets mentioning #xl8, i.e. all the recent tweets posted by professional translators who’ve used this particular hashtag. Note: you can also save this search for future use via the little drop down menu that appears on the search results page.
Reach a wider audience
One of the most powerful reasons to use hashtags is that your tweet will appear in the results shown to anyone searching for the specific hashtag you choose to use, which means that your tweet could potentially reach a greater audience than just those who follow you – potentially MUCH greater! For example, let’s say you write a tweet to your own 500 followers, however, only a small number of those people will actually ever read your tweet; some may retweet it or write a relevant tweet of their own, of course, but if they don’t then that’s about as far as your tweet will proliferate. However, if you choose to include a hashtag in your original tweet, anybody searching for that hashtag, regardless of whether or not they are already following you, will see your tweet – and since there could be 100s of people (or more?) searching for a particular hashtag at any one time, including one could make all the difference!
Find answers to questions
Twitter can be a great place to ask questions, however, unless your questions is one that many of your followers will want to retweet, if you haven’t got a significant following then your question isn’t likely to get very far (for questions aimed only at your own followers will answer this could be a good thing of course), however, by including a hashtag your message/question stands to reach a much larger audience than simply your own followers, thereby increasing your chances of receiving a response to it.
Build connections by answering questions
As we’ve just mentioned, one of the ways in which people use Twitter is to ask questions of specific groups of people (i.e. translators) by including a relevant hashtag in their tweet. Anybody who sees the question and wishes to show their knowledge of the subject can then answer it via the “reply” link shown under the tweet. Note: you can refine the search via search commands such as “#xl8 ? -filter:links” (without the quotation marks) to display only tweets with no embedded links (thereby increasing your chances of finding questions to answer, rather than promotional tweets).
Look for jobs
Ever thought of looking for translation-related work on Twitter? Simply search for a translation-related hashtag plus a work-related hashtag in Twitter’s search box, for example: “#xl8 #jobs” or “#t9n #careers” (without the quotation marks).
Research products/agencies/software/companies etc
The last example of specific uses for hashtags we’ll mention (although we could go on), is to use hashtags for research. If you’re wondering about a specific product, for example (or agency, etc), simply type a hash followed by the name of the product in question, say “#trados”, for example. You can then see all the latest tweets relating to said product, which should give you an idea about what people think of it, any issues they may have with it, and various links to helpful information related to it, etc.
For more on Twitter (including hashtags) check out Twitter Power 2.0 by Joel Comm.
Come across any particularly interesting uses of translation-related hashtags recently?