Turning inner space into outer space

July 7, 2013

How to own a Twitter hashtag

Here’s the problem: you’ve got a Twitter widget on your website based on a hashtag. It’s a unique hashtag, so you can be fairly confident that it will only be used by people you tell about it.

But still, it crops up from time to time in other people’s timelines and they make their way into your widget. Maybe they’re just trying to get your attention. Maybe they’re retweeting and the hashtag comes along for the ride. Who knows what the great unwashed will do with your precious hashtag?

You can’t stop them from using the hashtag, but you can stop them from appearing in the widget. Twitter’s advanced search comes to the rescue.

There are only two fields you need to fill in: “these hashtags” and “from these accounts.” In the first case, of course, fill in your cherished hashtag. In the second, fill in the names of accounts that you want to be allowed in the widget. It might be just yours or it might be several people in a group. If it’s more than one, separate each account name with a space.

Then click on the Search button. You’ll get a list something like this: “Results for #yourhashtag from:youraccount OR from:anotheraccount.”

Now click on the gear at the top right and go for “Embed this search.” Assuming you’re logged in, you will go to Twitter’s standard page for configuring a widget. If you like what you see, click on Create widget, and you’re good to go.

Now your widget will only show tweets with your hashtag from the people you’ve specified. You own that hashtag.

Of course, Twitter’s advanced search allows for all kinds of combinations and permutations. Let your imagination run free.