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The Bird – Navigating the Virtual Jungle (Twitter)

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Feb 22, 2013 in Job Search

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For those of us who don’t tweet on a regular basis, or at all, Twitter can be confusing. For instance, what are all those people trying to say when they use a hash symbol (#)? When you only have a limited number of characters to write for one tweet, what kind of communication is that symbol going to convey? Twitter Help Center: What Are Hashtags? And how can that help your job search?

Using the # symbol in front of a word in a twitter post allows those tweets to be grouped with every other tweet that has that same word tagged with that symbol. This allows you to more easily search for that word. Clicking on the tagged word in a tweet post (using the hashtag will create a hyperlink) will automatically produce the search, or grouping. Manually searching for the tag in the search bar of Twitter will also generate the complete grouping. This is also how Twitter trends are produced. The more people with the same hashtags at the same time means something is a hot topic (“trending”).

When you are searching for a something with multiple items, such as names (first and last) or companies, if only the first word is tagged, only the first word will group. Searching with spaces will only produce the separate words that were tagged. i.e. #Dixion #Hughes #Goodman. This can help you find “Dixon Hughes Goodman” or separately all of the tweets that mention any or all of the words. Most of the clutter can be reduced by eliminating the spaces between the words and searching the entire term as one word. If you needed to tag a company with more than one word in its name in a post, tagging the first word would not allow a search of the following words. Group all the words together, i.e. #DixonHughesGoodman vs #Dixon Hughes Goodman (where only “Dixon” will tag), or even #DHG.

The recommended article on the Twitter Help Page from the New Yorker explains the first part well, and then elaborates on the “other” use of the hashtag. The article describes the use as similar to an emoticon (read: smiley face), and has nothing to do with searching or grouping. The author described the use of the tag “like coughing into a handkerchief”. #notmystyle

You would probably not have an occasion to search for such a group of words as #justanotherdayatwork but the sense of muttering or sighing after a sentence is almost instinctive with this use.

The twittering birds can be useful in the job search jungle. Any recruiter with a twitter account will be tweeting up a storm about the positions that are available. The hash symbol will let you search exactly as it appears. #accounting jobs will only tag “accounting”. #accountingjobs means that only if you search “AccountingJobs” will you find the grouping. #Accounting #jobs is probably better for searching purposes as it will grab posts that tag both “jobs” and “accounting”. Want some quick tips on job searching or links to some great articles recommended by career coach gurus? Search tags like #jobsearch, #jobhunt, #networking, #jobsearchadvice, etc.


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