Difference between # and @ on Twitter

Key difference: Twitter is an online social networking and microblogging service. The two symbols that are commonly used on Twitter are the ‘#’ and the ‘@’.  The ‘#’ symbol is commonly referred to as a hashtag. This symbol is used to indicate a topic being discussed or a topic that is trending. The ‘@’ symbol, on the other hand, is used for mentions. It usually precedes a username and is used to mention or to reply to another user.

Twitter is an online social networking and microblogging service. It was started in March 2006 by Jack Dorsey, but was available to users from July 2006. The service has become quite famous for its simplistic premise; users can send and read tweets. Tweets are short text messages that are limited to less than 140 characters. They are often called the “SMS of the Internet.” Twitter has gotten so popular that in 2012, it had 500 million registered users, who were posting 340 million tweets per day.

The two symbols that are commonly used on Twitter are the ‘#’ and the ‘@’.  They of course serve two completely different needs. The ‘#’ symbol is commonly referred to as a hashtag. This symbol is used to indicate a topic being discussed or a topic that is trending. Hence, the use of hashtags is commonly called as trends. The hashtag essentially works as a metadata tag; it highlights a topic. Users can then search for the particular topic and follow the topic and the conversation on the topic.

 In addition to its popularity on Twitter, the hashtags are also now commonly used on Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Google+, etc. The hashtags have grown in popularity as they serve to simplify the navigation of the ‘Twitterverse.’ Hashtags group similar messages together for users who want to follow that topic.

The ‘@’ symbol, on the other hand, is used for mentions. It usually precedes a username and is used to mention or to reply to another user. If a user is mentioned in a tweet, then that tweet will appear in that person’s mentions list. For example, if someone tweets “@Twitter I love you”, this tweet will appear on Twitter’s mention page, as well as to all the followers of the user who tweeted it.

Comparison between # and @ on Twitter:

 

Hashtag

At sign

Symbol

#

@

Uses

To group posts together by topic or type

For mentioning or replying to other users

Advantages

Users can then search for the particular topic and follow the topic and the conversation on the topic.

The tweet mentioning the user can be seen on the user’s mention page. This allows the user to easily see and respond to the tweet.

Image Courtesy: contentious.com, cybercrimesunit.com

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