All the kids are hashtagging these days. Are you confused by this? Does it make you feel old?
Have no fear, hashtags are easy to understand, and they’re pretty useful if you love all things Bend Oregon.
Let me walk you through the basics. I’ll explain how to hashtag: What hashtags are, how to use them and why you should start hashtagging. Next, I’ll tell you the two hashtags you need to know (and use!) if you live in Bend.
Oh, and at the end, I’ll list a few folks in Bend worth following on Twitter and Instagram.
What the @#%^ is a hashtag?
Searching on Twitter for #surf pulls up a gazillion tweets about all things brah. #surftrip pulls up tweets more focused on surf travel.
You can use existing hashtags or create your own.
People hashtag their posts on social media sites like Twitter and Instagram. (P.S. hashtags are pretty useless on Facebook.)
Mostly, hashtags are just a way to find the stuff that interests you out there in the bottomless pit of social media. They also help you find other people who are into what you’re into.
Make sense? Not yet? Okay, read on…
How do I use hashtags?
Here are some hashtags you could use:
And here’s an example of how to use a few of those hashtags in the caption:
Once you’ve posted it, Instagram dog lovers and swan haters would see your pic when they search for #dog and #swansaremean. And anyone who is interested in Bend, Oregon would find it when they searched for #inbend (more on local hashtags in a minute).
Instagram is all about visual content. Twitter is another story. You probably shouldn’t tweet about a swan-dog stare down (yawn).
Tweets are naturally more information driven. The most useful hashtags on Twitter are location and event specific. If you’re tweeting about WinterFest next weekend, there’s a hashtag for that: #bendwinterfest.
If you’re a fan of the reality show The Bachelor, you can tweet snarky comments using #TheBachelor while you’re watching, hoping that @seanlowe09 will get rid of the #tierraist (and I would be tempted to hashtag that last sentence: #stuffIwishIdidntknow).
What does all this have to do with Bend?
#inbend & #bendoregon
#inbend is used mostly by locals, so it’s a fun one to browse, especially the photos on Instagram.
#bendoregon is used by lots of visitors, and some locals too.
You don’t have to tweet to glean local info from Twitter. You can log on and search for #inbend or #bendoregon at Twitter.com any old time, and you’ll see what’s up with the Tweeps of Bend, and learn about interesting stuff going on around town.
Now, about Instagram. You’ll need to download the Instagram app on your phone since you can’t access Instagram’s hashtag search on a web browser. It’s worth it. The app rivals Words with Friends in the best-procrastination-tools-of-all-time category. But more importantly, the #inbend and #bendoregon photos make one’s heart swell with hometown pride.
Of course, you can find other images that inspire you on Instagram — let’s say you’re a fan of Steve McQueen or monster truck races…you can feast your eyes by checking out #stevemcqueen and #monstertruck.
If you’re snap happy and not already on Instagram, join! Start hashtagging your Bend pics #inbend so we can see our hometown through your eyes.
Wait. Why should I hashtag? What’s in it for me?
On Twitter and Instagram, you’ll follow your friends and they follow you, but you don’t all share identical interests. If you’re nuts about kayaking, you can branch out and share pics and info with other kayaking enthusiasts, using hashtags like #kayaking and #kayaker.
Yes, Twitter and Instagram (and others like them) are still full-on social media, but they tend to be a little lower impact, more anonymous, and less brag-y than Facebook. They’re friendly to lurkers assuming you aren’t creepy (#iliketowatch), and you can tailor the information and images to suit your personal interests.
For instance, I love pulling up my Instagram feed to see what @baldego9 and @j_macd have been up to around town, I don’t know them personally, but they take gorgeous photos and inspire me to capture the beauty of Bend every day. I also live vicariously through my globe-trotting pals, and get to see shots of #VeniceBeach from my friends back in SoCal. I look at #inBend religiously for inspiration and to find new people to follow. About once a week, I look up my favorite restaurant in LA, #gjelina, out of nostalgia and for a little mouthwatering food porn. And yes, I occasionally look up #stevemcqueen, just because, he was the hottest man ever.
Don’t resist social media just because you think Twitter and Instagram are beneath you. Put aside your preconcieved notions, put on your grownup pants and take a look at what’s happening in Bend through a different filter. Explore the Bend-centric users and hashtags (see below). It’s not a total waste of time, promise.
Sweet! Anything else I need to know?
- Before you hashtag, think, “If I were following this hashtag would this photo or tweet be interesting and/or relevant to me?”
- Avoid using a zillion hashtags on Instagram. Sure, you have more than 140 characters, but it doesn’t mean you should use 27 hashtags. Try to limit to three at most.
- Hashtag sparingly on Twitter. Focus on location- and event-specific hashtags. Don’t feel the need to add a hashtag to every Tweet. That’s madness.
- Don’t hashjack. Don’t add #nippleslip to an Instgram pic of your breakfast just because it’s trending and you think you’ll get more view/followers whatever. It’s just douchey.
- You might want to research new, unknown hashtags before you go using a new one all willy nilly. See if your content fits with the other content. Just because you mean “backdoor” literally, doesn’t mean everyone else does.
- Have fun. It’s okay to use hashtags for a laugh (#IwishIwasFunny). Once you get the hang of it, you’ll start thinking in hashtags.
Who should I follow in Bend?
@beginnersbend (more #ShamelessSelfPromotion)
Local hashtags to browse on Instagram: