The pound sign was first used as a tool to create categories for coding in 1978. Then Twitter transformed the pound sign into the hashtag as a systematic way to tag topics of interest and to categorize messages. Hashtags serve as reflexive meta-commentary in ad-hoc discussion forums. Now hashtags are integrated into society, into the way people talk, the way they communicate and even, how the workplace functions.
There are a number of ways that hashtags are now making their way into the business ecosystem. Whether they’re used as a function of search, communication or employee engagement, hashtags are becoming a natural part of our workplace language.
A functional use for hashtags in the workplace is to create a digital filing system for company files and documents in cloud storage platforms. A designated hashtag will categorize and organize files to be easily searched and found.
At Digitile, we’ve created a smart and easy-to-use search engine that quickly finds all your files across GoogleDrive, Dropbox and OneDrive, and hashtags are a significant part of our search engine function. Our algorithm processes hashtags to power the search engine to generate files faster.
We decided to use hashtags as a key feature in our search engine because we feel that the use of hashtags has become so common in everyday communication, going beyond its social media roots. When coworkers sync their files with our search engine, they may add tags to the document to categorize it, users can then search hashtags to find relevant content. For example, when trying to find metrics from a marketing technology provider, a user may search #martech #marketingautomation. Anything related to marketing technology for that provider would appear in the order of its relevance to the hashtag.
Workplaces may integrate communication platforms to organize a searchable archive of conversations, decisions and work, allowing all team members to access information easily. Slack has become one of the most heavily adopted chat platforms to utilize hashtags for this function. Channels created by hashtags are organized threads for communication and discussion. It also creates a free space for employees to connect with each other. These types of internal communications tools eliminate information silos and disseminate knowledge in a more focused and collaborative environment.
Similar to promotional events, workplaces are now creating hashtags to go along with company events or office happenings. It’s a way for employees to connect and share their experiences with the company. Employees are the best public relations representatives for the company as they become advocates for the brand and can make or break a company’s success, so ensuring a positive workplace culture is vital.
Hashtags used in this way inspire conversation and create a stimulating work environment. They supply a call to action to be used for friendly competitions, feedback and engagement. As employees use the hashtag, they are building a network of publicity for the company. Using relevant hashtags enables the posts to be seen, and as people view these posts, it helps to build the brand. For example, a company hashtag can show inclusivity by inserting the company name after #WeAre. This conveys it is not individual employees working for the company, but rather the company is made of a team of people. Additionally, there is the traditional use of hashtags for colloquial conversations between networks of social media users, including employees.
Hashtags in the workplace are a way to search for files, streamline information, start conversations and build company culture. They create a way to categorize thoughts, connect with coworkers and simplify content, and they are changing the way we discover relevant content everywhere we look.