Mentions allow you to involve other Twitter users in your discussions. Hashtags allow you to categorise and find Tweets.
To mention someone in a Tweet, include the @ symbol followed by their username (without a space between). For example, to mention NEFOAMed in a Tweet, include @NEFOAMed:
Mentioning allows you to interact with other users, and does two things:
- The user you mention will be notified that you have mentioned them – this allows them to read the conversation and join in
- Their username becomes a clickable link in your Tweet, which takes people to their Twitter page. This lets others find out more about the person you mentioned and follow them if they want to.
Mentioning is a great way to start conversations or involve people in discussions. You do not have to follow someone yourself to mention them. This means that you can interact with colleagues, researchers, speakers at conferences or anyone else as long as you can find their @username.
You can mention as many people as you like in your Tweet by including each of their @usernames separately – the only limit is the number of characters in your Tweet.
When you are mentioned by someone, it will appear in your Notifications page. You can find this by clicking the Notifications icon at the top of your Twitter page:
Notifications appear like normal Tweets, allowing you to reply, retweet or like them:
Hashtags allow you to categorise and find Tweets. They all start with the # (hash) symbol, followed by a word or phrase (without spaces) that you want to use as a keyword. They must not include any spaces. These are some examples of hashtags:
- #FOAMed – for Free Open-Access Medical education
- #FOAMped – for FOAM relating to paediatrics
- #FRCEM – relating to the FRCEM (Fellowship of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine) examinations
- #humanfactors – for Tweets relating to human factors issues
A hashtag can be included anywhere in your Tweet:
… works the same as …
You can also include multiple hashtags related to your Tweet:
When you are reading a Tweet containing hashtags, the hashtags become clickable links that take you to the search page so you can find other Tweets using the same tag. For example, clicking on the #FOAMed hashtag in a Tweet would take you to its search page:
You can also search for hashtags directly from the Twitter search box:
Hashtags are also used to group Tweets relating to conferences or events. For example, Tweets about the Northern Emergency Medicine Conference in January 2016 contain the hashtag #NEMConf16. People could search for this hashtag and see all the Tweets related to the conference. Most conferences and events now have a hashtag to allow people to follow them.
Most Twitter clients allow you to follow a hashtag in real time so you can see Tweets as they are sent. This is very useful for keeping up to date with a conference or event when you are not there.