Today #myhusband and I were discussing how the #Internet is changing the way we communicate. Just over breakfast we #realized that our friends were not #mistyping everything they tweeted — they were purposefully using these #poundsign things to say something. #Butwhat? Neither of us knew.

I said I would #researchpoundsigns and get back to him. Meanwhile, would he mind downloading some #newmusic for my #ipod? He looked at me quizzically. "#Music? From online? You mean those MP3 thingies?"

"Yes," I replied.

"How about I buy you #SatelliteRadio instead?" he offered.

"Perfect," I replied, secretly relieved that I would not have to remember my #itunes account information from 2003.

So while he researched #Siriusradio packages, I Googled "pound signs." Nothing looked relevant. I added "Twitter" to the search parameters.

Now I was #ontosomething. Apparently, the #poundsign is no longer just a #poundsign. It is a #hashtag and it is very very #powerful.

According to my #research, #hashtags used in front of #mashedtogetherphrases creates a little itty-bitty search engine for that phrase. #Hashtags are used to organize groups on Twitter and Facebook that are all talking about the #samething. #Ahhh … so that’s it! #Hashtags link conversations! But why is that a #bigdeal?

Some online #mediaexperts suggested that the best way to #learnhowtousehashtags was to just use #hashtags! And try searching for terms with #hashtags! You mean, there are #norules? #Nomanual? This could become perplexing. Much like downloading #music. Which reminds me of the #goodoldays when I organized my #cassettetapes by color in my sock drawer.

If you had a #doublecassettedeck in your #boombox, you could play #WhitneyHouston and #recordyourselfsingingwithWhitneyHouston at the same time. Now that was pure magic. Then, you took the #cassettetape to school and traded with your #friends. Along with #fruitrollups and #sandwichesmadebyyourmother.

#Hashtags are also used like a #prepositionalphrase. For example, you might tell your friend: #lateagain #struckbyabus #sorry. Or you could use #hashtags like quotation marks, as in: Just got another parking ticket #Ilovemetermaids! (See, that was sarcasm.)

Lastly, PR folks use them a lot in #emailsubjectlines.

From what I could tell, #hashtags are the new #inthing. If you don’t use them, you are #notcool, and certainly #behindthetimes. #Realtors are all using #hashtags. #Remax this and #ColdwellBanker that. But for all the #tweeting, I can’t figure out how they promote and create new business … yet.

#Don’tworry, I’m not giving up. I will continue to use #hashtags in all my #communications until I start to see my #newbusinesstakeoff. What it takes is #practice. So, I’m just going to keep #practicing, even though it doesn’t make sense unless I’m searching for #tomcruise or #georgeclooney. Then, let me tell you, these #hashtags work really well.

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