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How To Follow a Hashtag on Twitter

Posted by Jamie on August 18, 2018

Everyone has become familiar with hashtags, the bits of text following a # symbol in a social media post, for example, #learning. Interesting fact: the hashtag concept was not created by Twitter but rather by Twitter users? Apparently they were supported and adopted by users on the old Internet Relay Chat (IRC) servers, and Twitter adopted them as a convention back in 2007. Regardless of their origin, they are now the way that people organize their thoughts on Twitter and share themed posts. In this article, I’ll show you how to follow a hashtag on Twitter.

Although many people have been using Twitter for a long time, a surprising number of people haven’t used the service at all or are just starting out. This post is intended for those people. I will discuss hashtags, what they are,  how to use them, and how to follow a hashtag on Twitter. This knowledge will make the world’s most dynamic social network much easier to navigate.

Hashtags and Twitter

Hashtags are so much a part of our lives now that they are finding their way into our speech patterns as well as screens. ‘Hashtag color me surprised’, ‘hashtag who knew?’ are two sayings that I hear regularly when out and about and while I find them annoying, I also find it fascinating how social media has changed our daily vocabulary.

As mentioned above, hashtags originated on IRC back in the (gasp) 20th century, as users of the IRC chat applications wanted a way to categorize items into groups. A Silicon Valley designer named Chris Messina proposed using hashtags on the new Twitter service, but was shot down by the creators, who said it was “too nerdy”. Undeterred, Chris took his idea to the people and hashtags were adopted by the Twitter user community first, only later earning an at-first grudging acceptance from the company. Regardless of the backstory, hashtags are now a signature feature of the network and you can do quite a lot with them.

A hashtag is used before a keyword or phrase to make the tweet more searchable. Adding the ‘#’ symbol before a word will enable other users to search for it and follow or retweet. Hashtags are used this way extensively by users and also by companies vying for attention on the network. You can use the hashtag anywhere in a tweet, at the beginning, middle or end. The symbol will be noted by Twitter and can appear in search or even Trending Topics if you’re lucky.

Follow a hashtag on Twitter

There are three ways I know of to follow a hashtag on Twitter. The first is from within Twitter itself while the other uses Tweetdeck, a tool for internet marketers or serious Twitter fans. The third uses external web apps to get the job done.

First, I’ll show you how to do it directly within Twitter.

  1. Open Twitter on your home page.
  2. Perform a search in the top right.
  3. Once you are on the search returns page, click the three dot More icon.
  4. Select ‘Save this search’.
  5. Perform the search regularly to track the hashtag.

This is a fast and simple way to follow a hashtag. You can use multiple tags but each must be within their own saved search.

You can also just bookmark the search page to come back to it whenever you want.

  1. Open Twitter on your home page.
  2. Perform a search in the top right.
  3. Once on the search return page, bookmark it in your browser.
  4. Click the bookmark every time you want to see what is going on with that hashtag.

This is a simple but crude way to follow a hashtag, but it works. The only drawback is that it isn’t very dynamic. If you’re tracking your own name or company, it works fine as the hashtag won’t change much. If you’re tracking changing hashtags or Trending Topics, you would have to repeat this for each one.

Use Tweetdeck to follow a hashtag on Twitter

Tweetdeck is an app that makes working with Twitter easier for internet marketers. I use it to promote my businesses as well as managing social media for clients. It can be useful for individuals too.

  1. Sign up for Tweetdeck if you don’t already have it.
  2. Perform a hashtag search within Tweetdeck in the top left menu.
  3. Select the Add a column button just underneath.

The search should then be given its own column within the Tweetdeck dashboard and you can monitor it in real time. There is a free version of Tweetdeck that will utilize this trick but if you’re serious about Twitter, the premium version is much more powerful.

Use third party websites to follow a hashtag on Twitter

There are hundreds of third party websites that enable hashtag tracking and other cool tools. Some are free while others cost money. Here are four worth checking out.

Many other hashtag trackers and Twitter tools come and go but as of the time of writing, these four are still online and functioning.

If you need to follow a hashtag on Twitter, you now know of four different ways to do it. From individuals who just want to follow a keyword to companies who want to manage their social media presence, this list caters to them all.

Got any other ways to follow a hashtag on Twitter? Tell us about them below if you do!

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