September 29, 2014

9 tips for using Twitter to tap into #globaldev community


Post by Gemma McNeil-Walsh

Target audience: Nonprofits, cause organizations, foundations, NGOs, social enterprises

gemma-mcneil-walsh-jpegIf you were to ask me what my most useful resource during a three-year undergraduate development studies degree has been, I think the answer might surprise you: Twitter. Although I initially joined Twitter so that I could join in on my housemates’ banter about cupcakes and Ryan Gosling (don’t judge), I quickly found Twitter to be an invaluable professional and career development resource. I decided to leave the Ryan Gosling banter to Facebook, the pictures of cupcakes to Instagram, and came to see Twitter as a ‘rolling online CV’. Continue reading

December 27, 2011

45 hashtags for social change

Image by jeffisageek on Flickr

Print out this cheat sheet to keep tab on the top tags

During the holiday break, Socialbrite is updating and republishing one of our most popular posts from last year.

By Kim Bale
Socialbrite staff

45 hashtags guide

Sending a tweet into the Twitterverse without a proper tag is like stocking a library with no regard to author or subject matter. Your messages may go unread and opportunities to connect with others may be missed.

Make room for a hashtag in your post. That will add your tweet to an existing thread, given that Twitter now turns hashtags into links. Bottom line: When used strategically, hashtags are definitely worth the precious extra characters.

We wrote earlier about how nonprofits can use Twitter hashtags. But hashtags have evolved a bit since then. Download and print out our new 45 hashtags for social good flyer so that you always have the right tag ready for your tweets.

What’s a hashtag? Our social media glossary says this:

A hashtag is a community-driven convention for adding additional context and metadata to your tweets. Similar to tags on Flickr, you add them in-line to your Twitter posts by prefixing a word with a hash symbol (or # sign).

How to create your own hashtag

Hashtags are useful when discussing a specific topic, trying to reach a certain demographic, aggregating tweets about an event or trying to raise awareness of a cause. Twitter now creates a link whenever anyone adds a hashtag — click it (say, #cause) and you’ll see a thread of most recent tweets that contain the same tag.

Anyone can create a hashtag. Just affix the # symbol to the beginning of a word, tweet it — and you’ve got your #hashtag! A hashtag can be included anywhere in your tweet — in the beginning, middle or at the end (though generally the latter). It doesn’t matter if the hashtag is uppercase or lowercase.

If you’re holding a conference — for example, #12ntc — or a special event or tweet regularly about a specific topic, you’ll likely want to use a hashtag. Be sure to announce the hashtag in advance so your followers will begin to use it. Need help with a fundraiser you’re organizing? Tag it with #fundraising and it will appear in a thread like this:

How to find the right hashtag

How to choose the right tag? Start with our flyer, then visit to, type in the hashtag and see how other people are using it. You can also go one step further and search the hashtag on an analytics website, like Trendistic, What The Hashtag or, to see how it’s trending over time. This will clue you into which hashtags are most popular and which hashtags you should avoid because they see more action than the freeway at rush hour — say, #politics.

Note: You can’t add any punctuation to your hashtag, so it’s #web2, not #web2.0.

Can’t find the right hashtag for your tweet? Create your own. Just remember to keep it short and recognizable so others will use and search it. The longer your hashtag is (say, more than 10 characters), the less likely other people will be to retweet it.

Before you create your own, check out these existing hashtags for social change and start a conversation. Have your own favorite, or spot something we missed? Please add in the comments below!

Social change & activism

1. #socialgood: This hashtag can be used to discuss any topic related to social good. Closely related: #socialchange.

2. #cause or #causes can be used to discuss subjects related to social causes.

3. #volunteer, #volunteers and #volunteering all seem to be equally popular when talking about or looking for a volunteer opportunity.

4. #4change: This hashtag was created to flag a monthly chat on how social media is helping to foster change.

5. #video4change is used to feature successful and creative video advocacy examples.

6. #giveback: Use this hashtag to talk about giving back to the world and your community.

7. #dogood: Support the movement to do good and share your good deeds with the world.

8. The Occupy movement uses these hashtags: #OWS, #occupy, #occupytogether, #occupywallst, #occupywallstreet and #OccupyEverywhere, along with local variations like #OccupyOakland. (See Occupy Wall Street: The fight for the future.)

Nonprofits & foundations

9. #nonprofit: This versatile tag can be applied to any tweet concerning the nonprofit sector (and is somewhat more popular than #nonprofits).

10. #nfp and #notforprofit: Similarly, these can be used interchangeably for discussions about not for profits.

11. #philanthropy: Tag your philanthropic news with this hashtag.

12. #charity: Mark your charitable tweets with this hashtag, or the slightly less popular #charities.

13. #charitytuesday: Share your favorite nonprofits with your followers every Tuesday.

14. #nptech: Use this for tagging nonprofits’ use of technology.

15. #foundation or #foundations when discussing news about foundations. In the same vein: Use #grant to reference all things grant related.

16. #crisiscommons: This hashtag is used largely during disasters to create crowdsourced solutions that contribute to disaster relief, along with the hashtag specific to the disaster.

Social businesses

17. #socent: Use this tag to discuss social entrepreneurship.

18. #impinv: Use this to discuss impact investing.

19. #crowdfunding: For discussions of enterprises and projects funded by the crowd. Closely related: #crowdsourcing.

20. #socialbusiness: Use this to refer to business working toward social good.

21. #changemakers: Use this when discussing change through social entrepreneurship or when referring to Ashoka Changemakers.

22. #BOP (Bottom of the Pyramid): A favorite among entrepreneurs, this can be applied to a variety of tweets from topics concerning frugal spending to untapped resources. Be aware, however, that this hashtag gets a lot of use by those outside of the nonprofit sector. The related #bopbiz might be a better choice.

23. #entrepreneurs: Great for connecting with talented entrepreneurs.

24. #csr (Corporate Social Responsibility): Use this for tweets about sustainability and corporate programs to serve the public.

25. #microfinance: Use this when discussing microfinance or extending financial services to the low-income sector. Continue reading

September 30, 2011

12-step guide on how to live-tweet an event

live tweeting at TED
Twitter co-founder Evan Williams live-tweets on stage at the TED conference.

Learn how Twitter can help you make the most of your next conference

This is part of our series on how nonprofits can get the most out of Twitter and the first in a series of guest posts from content partner

Guest post by Susannah Vila

twitter-essentialsWhether you are hosting an event such as a fund-raiser or a conference, or you are signed up to attend one, Twitter can help you to expand the event’s reach, grow your organization’s audience and connect with potential collaborators or partners.

One effective technique is to take advantage of Twitter’s viral power during an event or conference — your own or someone else’s. Here’s a 12-step guide on how to live-tweet an event.

1Choose a hashtag or find the hashtag that the organizers have picked. It should be short so that plenty of characters are left for the content of your tweets. People generally put the hashtag at the end of every tweet about the event. This way, anyone following that stream will see your posts and identify you or your organization as part of that event.

Tip: You don’t need to be at an event to join in on the hashtag stream. Many people follow along from a livestream and use the hashtag to share their thoughts, or point out memorable insights, to those who are both attending the event or watching remotely.

Tip: Which tool will you be using to engage with the Twitter conversation during your event? TweetDeck on your laptop? Use TagDef to find out what a hashtag means.

2Pay attention. It may seem obvious, but the whole point of tweeting from a conference or other event is to choose the statements made by speakers (or people asking questions) that are the most interesting to your followers. Not everything said at a conference is worth repeating, so don’t bother with platitudes and instead just highlight those thoughts that come out of the live conversation that strike you as worth thinking more about or worth relaying to your audience.

Twitpic3Know your audience. When at an event, it’s never a bad idea to remind yourself of who your audience is and how this event fits with their interests. If they are following you because you or your organization focuses on one issue in particular, then they will probably be expecting your tweets to relate to that topic. When choosing which ideas and comments to bring into the Twitter conversation, check with yourself to ensure that your tweets will be relevant to your followers.

4Use attribution: A big part of tweeting from a conference or other event is about curating the most relevant and important points that speakers make and sharing them with your followers. If someone says something interesting, use a format like “[name] says [their statement].” Whenever you can, use the speaker’s Twitter handle to attribute a statement to them — this allows an interested follower to immediately see their bio, picture and website. If you can’t find the Twitter handle right away, just search Google for “their name” + “Twitter.” Make it as easy as possible for your followers to identify who’s speaking — you don’t want to run the risk of people taking a statement or idea out of context or simply getting confused by your tweets and unfollowing you. Continue reading

December 4, 2009

Using hashtags to enhance community

John HaydonOn Tuesday I’ll be leading an online session for about building communities on Twitter (follow @Philanthropy for details).

Communities do not just happen. And they certainly don’t happen overnight. You have to have something important to talk about. And you have to be prepared to consistently connect people together over a period of months.

But Twitter seems like a big mess, doesn’t it? With thousands of tweets going off every hour, about hundreds of different topics, how do you build a cohesive group of fans?

The answer is hashtags.

Hashtags are a way to funnel specific discussions about a topic into a coherent thread, sort of like using Twitter to tune into specific radio frequencies. But not everyone knows how to create successful chat sessions.

In the screencast at top, I outline the basics of managing a hashtag chat on Twitter:

August 21, 2009

How nonprofits can use Twitter hashtags

hashtags image

Photo by Mansikka

Tips on how to facilitate conversation around a tag

Beth KanterWhat is a #hashtag?

A hashtag is the symbol: #. (See the definition in Socialbrite’s glossary.) It is also a Twitter term that describes a keyword, prefixed by that symbol, that helps people track conversations on Twitter.

The hashtags site, a centralized directory of hashtags on Twitter, also offers a good definition:

Hashtags are a community-driven convention for adding additional context and metadata to your tweets. They’re like tags on Flickr, only added inline to your post. You create a hashtag simply by prefixing a word with a hash symbol: #hashtag.

A brief history of hash tags
Chris Messina is credited with starting hashtags and has written about how to make them most useful. According to the Twitter Fan Wiki, hashtags were popularized during the San Diego forest fires in 2007 when Nate Ritter used the hashtag “#sandiegofire” to identify his updates related to the disaster.

Nonprofit use #1: Events and conferences

Since those early days, hashtags have been used in different ways by nonprofits. One of the most frequent applications has been to use them at events and conferences. It’s not uncommon to see the “official” hashtag included with the promotional information about the event, even events or conferences that are not technology focused. Continue reading