Daniel Victor questions the effectiveness of the hashtag.
If you lace your tweet with topical signifiers like #china, #food or #art, or of-the-moment news stories like #marchmadness or #prop8, you’re calculating that there will be a lot of people searching for it, but not so many using it that your tweet would be overwhelmed. It’s a narrow set of circumstances. When the goal is to increase your audience, the hashtag’s effectiveness depends entirely on how many people are searching for it, a number to which we have no access. …
Does this mean the millions of Twitter users who deploy such hashtags to increase their reach are all wrong? Well…yes. We certainly have a history of carrying out myths in technology. Shaking a Polaroid picture didn’t make it develop any faster. Blowing on Nintendo cartridges didn’t help, either. We’ve all been told at some point that hashtags connect you to more people, and it’s been widely accepted as fact.
More from Victor here.