Hashtag This

Now that she’s more than a novice user on Instagram, my kid’s been exploring more and more of the visual social network that’s captivating many eyeballs every day. Recently, she discovered hashtags and asked for an explanation on them. So, here it is:

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Hashtags help you to categorise information

Simply put, Hashtags are really useful for sorting information that’s posted online. For Instagram, it’s really useful to find images like the one you’re looking at or posting. Our favourites? #dogsofinstagram and #bunniesofinstagram. Hashtags also help you to find information on a topic or images related to the topic, so they’re super useful when it comes to searching.

Hashtags help you to get your information discovered
If you’re looking to have your image or information grouped with the worldwide collective of images like it, adding a hashtag to the image caption can help. So far, the ones we avoid like anything are #selfie and the like.

Some Hashtags are Not for Consumption
This is a tough one, because it edges on the side of the Internet a lot of us don’t like to think about – the unsavoury content side of things. It’s been tough to explain that the world inside and beyond that screen isn’t always the greatest place to be, but I’ve levelled it down to this (and many props are to be given to Instagram for instituting this advisory): If an advisory like the one below pops up when she’s searching, it’s time to click away and go search something else. Of course, I expect curiosity to set in here, so I’m leaning on those conversations around the online world, to help this mama out when it happens.

IG Content Advisory Alert

Lastly, hashtags can be fun, but posting a picture of the dog with 97 hashtags like #fur #canine #smile #food and the like is downright irritating. So, we have a “three hashtags, max” rule. So far, we’re doing just fine in a world dominated by hashtags.

Cath Jenkin

As a mom, Cath raises her daughter with a strong focus on technology, as she believes that digital literacy is as important as learning to read. With a long history of creating content for online and print publications, and in particular as a parenting columnist, Cath brings her curious mind... Read more

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