Make Sense of Confusing Twitter Hash Tags

Adam DuVander
Mar. 20 2009, 03:01AM EDT

Do you use Twitter, but don't spend your March in Austin? You may be confused by "#sxsw" showing up in your stream. A new site can help make sense of the gibberish "hash tags" spouted by some of the people you follow.

SXSW hashtag on Tagalus

Hash tags are words or acronyms that begin with the number sign. They are used when many people are tweeting about the same topic, or from the same event. At least one hash tag is often atop Twitter's trending topics list. Tagalus is a service to declare the meaning of those confusing hash tags. There can be more than one version, with users voting up the best definition.

Just send a tweet @tagalus to suggest a meaning for a tag. You can also add and view tags on its site. Even better, Tagalus has an API, which accesses both getting and setting of definitions (more at our Tagalus API profile). The usefulness of hashtags could really be increased if Tagalus is integrated into popular Twitter clients, the same way automatic URL shorteners make sharing links easier.

Tagalus isn't alone in trying to make sense of hashtags. The granddaddy is Hashtags.org, which tracks tags by popularity over time. Before Twitter's search feature was useful, Hashtags provided a means to search tags. Tagref, a tool similar to Tagalus is built on Twitter's APIs (our Twitter and Twitter Search profiles).

Like Twitter itself, hashtags have multiple uses. Services like Tagalus are helping to make sense of the possibilities.

Adam DuVander Hi! I'm Developer Communications Director for SendGrid and former Executive Editor of ProgrammableWeb. I currently serve as a Contributing Editor. If you have API news, or are interested in writing for ProgrammableWeb, please contact editor@programmableweb.com Though I'm a fan of anything API-related, my particular interest is in mapping. I've published a how-to book, Map Scripting 101, to get anyone started making maps on websites. In a not-so-distant past life I wrote for Wired and Webmonkey.

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Sam

saw a new hash tag #BrnSt on <a href="http://ebtnews.wordpress.com/" rel="nofollow">Emotional Brain Training News</a>. I think it means Brain State or a way to describe how stressed you are, 1-Feeling Great, 5-Stressed Out.

Much easier way of explaining how you feel to other people in your network.

[...] tagdef API: Tagdef.com gives users an easy way to define and look up Twitter hashtags. Through its RESTful API, users can retrieve the definitions, returned in XML format, and integrate the data into their website or webapp. For more on Twitter hashtags, see our earlier report on making sense of confusing Twitter hashtags. [...]

[...] ProgrammableWeb 博客提示 Tagalus 提供 API,开发者可在 Twitter 客户端中集成 # 标签定义功能。这对于 Twitter 社区非常有用。 [...]

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