Hashtag etiquette and netiquette – Virtual Gratification Syndrome (VGS)

Hashtag etiquette

Have you ever wondered what proper hashtag etiquette is? Do you know those that overuse hashtags for some sort of tracking or not knowing how to restrain themselves? I bet they have Virtual Gratification Syndrome, or VGS for short.

There are numerous articles already in existence but in the age of ROI, tracking and social analytics it seems that posts are being padded.  Mainly when the posts are set to auto tweet.  Think back to LOL and the little emoticons that now have so many you have no clue what they mean.

but there are those that I like to call “Over-Hashtagers.” They add hashtags to their tweets, their status updates, posts on other peoples’ walls, emails and text messages. These enthusiasts sometimes even have more than one hashtag to add to whatever it is that they’re saying, but at that point, no one really reads what they’re saying anymore because it is riddled by so many hashtags.

This was a great summary of overhashtaggers from The Minaret at the end of 2011.  It emphasises in the article that overuse often drives people away from reading your posts or understanding exactly what you are trying to share.  I know I have been guilty in Instagram but that is the way searching is still done in there for public pictures.  But for tweets, Facebook posts and blog updates I refrain.  I believe that proper keywords, categories and titles will convey what you want and get the search engines to find you.

If your organization is tracking your every post and using some form of ranking on hashtags then you are doing something wrong.  Think about customer engagement, not how many times a hashtag shows.  Think about generated content and how long a user stays on your site. There is much more to finding information than a subject line with seven hashtags.  Another point is that when an event is over, there is a reasonable amount of time to continue using the tag itself.  Like summaries and thoughts.  There is also a point where it is way too early.  Both of these points apply when the posting has nothing to do with an event, but everything to do with driving only statistics for usage of a particular tag.

Speaking of that, make sure to go read all the posts on Virtual Gratification Syndrome (VGS) from my archives.


  • http://twitter.com/duffbert Thomas Duff

    Excellent post, Chris… this is the exact reason why I’ve stopped following someone in a couple of cases. Furthermore, using conference hashtags on blog posts for tragic events that have NOTHING to do with the hashtags in question is borderline offensive…

  • http://TheSocialNetworker.com IdoNotes

    Thank you. It got to a point today when reading some posts I had to break out the VGS and some etiquette

  • http://www.facebook.com/steve.mcdonagh Steve McDonagh

    Well said Chris there are some of late that have not hovered on the thin line of acceptable but jumped over the line naked with a rose clenched between their teeth and bear hugged bad taste .. and for me to notice that takes a lot!

  • http://TheSocialNetworker.com IdoNotes

    Haha. Thanks. In this social eminence age and countless resources I hope no one jumps in naked or gives us a bear hug when doing so

  • William Eberle

    Over the border, in my opinion, Tom. And, yes, great post, Chris!

  • http://TheSocialNetworker.com IdoNotes

    Thanks to both of you! It started getting on my social nerves