In the latter example, above, #gbl is a vibrant discussion on the topic of “games-based learning.” If you already knew what this topic was about (it’s been around a while and has lots of current tweets on the subject), then you would feel right at home joining any Twitter conversations already in progress that contained the #gbl hashtag. You might feel a little alienated though, and be reluctant to join a conversation that includes this hashtag, if you don’t know what the tag refers to.
If you want to welcome more people into your hashtag-based conversations, here’s a couple of suggestions. Every now and then in the tweet stream on that topic, tweet something like, “For any newcomers who’d like to join in, we’re chatting about games-based learning. Join the conversation by including #gbl in your tweets.” This provides newcomers with the exact meaning of the hashtag, and provides them an easy entry point into the conversation. Seed your conversation with this tweet (or modified versions of it) periodically, so that newcomers know what the conversation is about without having to read the previous 20 tweets to try to decipher what “#gbl” (or whatever esoteric hashtag you’re using) stands for.
Another, more intricate solution would be to create a Twitter landing page dedicated to a given hashtag. You could create a separate page on your blog with information relevant to the hashtag you’re promoting. Alternatively, you could use free services like Twylah or Paper.li to create a Twitter landing page defining what your hashtag stands for, along with links and references to other people using that hashtag. Just as in the example, above, you’d post references and links to your landing page throughout the chat. Let other members know that your links are for the purpose of helping newcomers to get in on the conversation too.
Have any great Twitter Tips that you think would be a good fit for Twitter Tip Tuesday? Then we want to hear from you!