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How To Follow a Hashtag on Twitter

Everyone has become familiar with hashtags, the bits of text following a # symbol in a social media post, for example, #learning. Interesting fact: the hashtag concept was not created by Twitter but rather by Twitter users?

Apparently they were supported and adopted by users on the old Internet Relay Chat (IRC) servers, and Twitter adopted them as a convention back in 2007. Regardless of their origin, they are now the way that people organize their thoughts on Twitter and share themed posts. In this article, I’ll show you how to follow a hashtag on Twitter.

Although many people have been using Twitter for a long time, [1] a surprising number of people haven’t used the service at all or are just starting out. This post is intended for those people. I will discuss hashtags, what they are,  how to use them, and how to follow a hashtag on Twitter. This knowledge will make the world’s most dynamic social network much easier to navigate.

Hashtags and Twitter

Hashtags are so much a part of our lives now that they are finding their way into our speech patterns as well as screens. Used to connect with others, causes, and make statements, hashtags can help you reach followers and like-minded social media users.

As mentioned above, hashtags originated on IRC back in the (gasp) 20th century, as users of the IRC chat applications wanted a way to categorize items into groups. A Silicon Valley designer named Chris Messina proposed using hashtags on the new Twitter service, but was shot down by the creators, who said it was “too nerdy”.

Undeterred, Chris took his idea to the people, and hashtags were adopted by the Twitter user community first, only later earning an at-first grudging acceptance from the company. Regardless of the backstory, hashtags are now a signature feature of the network and you can do quite a lot with them.

A hashtag is used before a keyword or phrase to make the tweet more searchable. Adding the ‘#’ symbol before a word will enable other users to search for it and follow or retweet. Hashtags are used this way extensively by users and also by companies vying for attention on the network. You can use the hashtag anywhere in a tweet like at the beginning, middle, or end. The symbol will be noted by Twitter and can appear in the search or even Trending Topics if you’re lucky.

Follow a hashtag on Twitter

There are three known ways to follow a hashtag on Twitter. Unfortunately, Twitter doesn’t make it as simple as LinkedIn for example, but it can still be done. You can follow a hashtag from within Twitter itself, using Tweetdeck [18], a tool for internet marketers or serious Twitter fans, or using external web apps to get the job done.

First, I’ll show you how to do it directly within Twitter.

Step 1

Open Twitter on your home page [19].

Step 2

Perform a search in the top right.

Step 3

Once on the search return page, bookmark it in your browser.

Step 4

Click the bookmark every time you want to see what is going on with that hashtag.

This is a simple but crude way to follow a hashtag, but it works. The only drawback is that it isn’t very dynamic. If you’re tracking your own name or company, it works fine as the hashtag won’t change much. If you’re tracking changing hashtags or Trending Topics, you would have to repeat this for each one.

Alternatively, you can save a hashtag for quicker searchers. Following the same steps as above, search for the hashtag of interest and go to the search results. One they appear, click on the three horizontal dots to the right of the search box and click ‘Save Search.’

Now, whenever you tap on the search bar, the chosen hashtag will immediately appear. You can have several hashtags but you must save each one individually.

Use Tweetdeck to follow a hashtag on Twitter

Tweetdeck is an app that makes working with Twitter simpler and more customizable. From displaying the accounts you’re most interested in, to the hashtags you follow, Tweetdeck makes it easy and effective. All of your interests are available on one screen with this website.

Step 1

Open Twitter on your home page using Tweetdeck.

Step 2

Perform a search by clicking on the magnifying glass in the panel bar on the left of the home screen.

Step 3

Scroll all the way to the right-hand side of the interface to see your search results.

Step 4

Hold your cursor over the three vertical lines in the upper right-hand corner of the column and drag it where you’d like to see it.

You can now see the newest tweets with your hashtag as soon as you log into TweetDeck.

Step 5

The search should then be given its own column within the Tweetdeck dashboard and you can monitor it in real-time. There is a free version of Tweetdeck that will utilize this trick but if you’re serious about Twitter, the premium version is much more powerful.

Unfortunately, Tweetdeck is only available on a web browser, but mobile users don’t despair just yet. You can add the website to your home screen as a bookmark regardless of your operating system.

Simply visit Tweetdeck in your preferred web browser on your phone or tablet and click the option to save it as a bookmark. Now, anytime you’d like to catch up on the things that interest you, tap the bookmark (which should look like an app) and you’re good to go.

Use third party websites to follow a hashtag on Twitter

There are hundreds of third party websites that enable hashtag tracking and other cool tools. Some are free while others cost money. Here are four worth checking out.

Many other hashtag trackers and Twitter tools come and go but as of the time of writing, these four are still online and functioning.

If you need to follow a hashtag on Twitter, you now know of four different ways to do it. From individuals who just want to follow a keyword to companies who want to manage their social media presence, this list caters to them all.

Can I follow a hashtag from the app?

Yes, but only by using the Tweetdeck or bookmark option. Unfortunately, the app version of Twitter doesn’t give you the option to save a search.

If I save a search, will it appear on all platforms?

Yes, if you save a search on Twitter it will appear when you tap the Search option in the app version.

Is using third-party websites safe?

This question depends on which ones you’re using. Do your research before giving any website access to your personal information or social media sites.

Got any other ways to follow a hashtag on Twitter? Tell us about them below if you do!