There are so many websites, networks, papers, radio and tv stations, magazines, and water coolers in Northwest Arkansas it’s kind of hard to keep track with what’s actually going on… especially what’s going on right now. Well, for those of you that use Twitter (and I know there are a bunch of you), now we’ve got Twubs – Twitter Hubs to help us keep track. In this article, I’ll explain what Twubs is, what the heck hashtags are, and how it all helps you keep up with your favorite place in the world, Northwest Arkansas…

Using Hashtags on Twitter to organize, categorize, and informatize

Okay, so that last one isn’t a word, but I think you get the idea. If you aren’t sure what Twitter is, you should probably watch this video then read on…

Now that you know what Twitter is (as if you didn’t already) let’s talk hashtags.

A user-created standard for identifying tweets belonging to a topic. Simply include the tag in your tweet and other people searching for the same tag will be able to find it.

Sounds simple huh? It actually is. Just add a “#” in front of whatever word you want to use as a hashtag and people searching that word, subject, event, etc. will easily find your tweet, along with all the others with the same hashtag.

So how would I use this and where do I find them?
You can see a list of all the registered hashtags at hashtag.org or you can just make one up and hope others start using it. I recently started using #realtips to microblog short, simple tips to help buyers and sellers achieve their real estate goals. You can find some of the hashtags that are commonly used in Northwest Arkansas by checking out my Twubs page. It looks like many people are using #NWAsocial and NWAtweet to talk about Northwest Arkansas.

Seriously, how is this useful?

I like metaphors so think of it like this…

You’re at a cocktail party with all your friends, just chatting away. The party is you and all your twitter followers.

Across town there is another party, a chic, jazzy affair. This party is another, unconnected group of twitterers.

There’s a guy, Billy, sitting in his basement wondering what the party scene is like tonight so he decides to use the #nwaparty hashtag to find out if anyone is talking about any good parties happening in Northwest Arkansas. He sends a tweet out: “Any buck parties happening tonight? #nwaparty”

It so happens that multiple people from each party Billy doesn’t follow happen to be tweeting about the “buck” party they are attending and how everyone should be there…plus they are using the #nwaparty hashtag to help others find their tweets. Now Billy searches for the #nwaparty hashtag and has to make a choice. Does he go to the cocktail party or the chic, jazzy affair?

This can be done with any subject, event, party, gathering, etc. that you might be able to conjure up. Try it out. Now you can see all the related tweets about any subject, area, or event in one spot. That’ s pretty powerful right?

Don’t take my word for it…
Try it out. You can see some of the hashtags I have embedded on this site here or go to twubs.com and check out some others. Remember to join some of your favorites to make it easier to keep track of your area, interest, or event and start using #hashtags in your tweets to help them be easier to find by other people. Trust me, the more you use them, the more you’ll like them, the more you’ll use them, etc, ad nauseum.