Twitter Hashtag Search – No Hashtag Necessary!

By Thursday, April 18, 2013 1 Permalink 0

The other night I was flipping through channels on TV and stumbled on the MTV Movie Awards. I’m not a big movie person, and even less of an award show watcher (we all know how I feel about the Grammys), and yet I stopped to watch a few minutes.

After I tweeted about my thoughts on how it was going:

I decided to see what others thought of the event. I clicked on the trending topic and the first thing I noticed? Twitter was aggregating tweets that were talking about the event, but weren’t using the hashtag. Three of the seven tweets below do not contain the hashtag that I searched in the tweets.

In the past I would search for a term without the # because I would get results of both people who used the proper hashtag and those who didn’t. For example, the Fort Collins Music Experience festival is commonly known as FoCoMX. People will mention FoCoMX by either tagging their Twitter account (@FoCoMX), using the hashtag (#FoCoMX) or by simply writing FoCoMX. By searching for just the phrase FoCoMX, I get all three results showing up in my search. This doesn’t work for everything, obviously, but has worked well for many conference and music festivals.

So, are hashtags now irrelevant? Is Twitter just getting better at search? Pinterest has said their search can’t handle hashtags, but yet they recommend using distinct words, and words strung together, similar to a hashtag, just without the #. Most of the time the trending topics are phrases, not necessarily hashtags, but this was the first time I have specifically searched a hashtag and received results that were not hashtags. Has anyone else seen this happen on Twitter search?

1 Comment
  • Matt Fields
    April 18, 2013

    I think the hashtags are still relevant. I’m guessing Twitter modified their search algorithm to include keywords and not just hashtags. Their support page still include the “Using Hashtags on Twitter” topic.

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