February 7, 2013

Lessons packed in a tweet: Swissmiss’ wake-up call

Tina Roth Eisenberg, a.k.a. Swissmiss, recently tweeted:

Tina’s critique affected me, because I was a regular practitioner of hashtagging—often very visibly:

Sensible reminders, such as Eisenberg’s on hashtags, have a knock-knock effect, bursting a bubble and ushering in a renewed perspective. Her call to keep hashtags at a minimum was a welcomed slap to simplify. Since then, my tweets are mostly hashtag-free:

The difference is evident. There are advantages to using fewer hashtags:
  • freeing up characters within the 140-character limit, which translates into a more informed tweet
  • devoting less time to converting word(s) into hashtags, which then translates into more time composing the tweet
But this hashtag behavior speaks to larger lessons, easier said than practiced, around clarity and moderation, in particular.


A tweet (or anything else that enables social-media linkage) loaded with hashtags, looks and feels loaded. So easy, even tempting, to make something bloated and distracting. It’s much harder to make something (a scientific equation, software, etc.) lean, where form and function don’t distract from understanding and using.


Inserting a tweet with multiple hashtags not only obscures the message, it can give the impression of self-absorption. Hashtags were made to increase the reach of sharing, thereby extending the tweet’s shelf-life. But excessive hashtags add weight. Over-embellishing something makes the experience feel thick and heavy—complicated. And self-absorption notably creeps into communication. One’s over-engineered message, tweeted or otherwise, is not the center of the universe.

Striving for clarity in how one talks and writes, and moderating parts of one’s life to facilitate comfort resulting from clarity, remain steadfast goals.

Thank you, Swissmiss, for helping reset priorities!

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Related to the Twitterverse, read about Using The Curator’s Code.