A Hashtag You Shouldn’t Ignore

There are a great deal of people like me that blog.  I can tell you that it’s exciting when someone takes the time to add a comment to a blog post.  While I don’t blog solely for comments, it does sort of makes the whole concept rewarding.  It’s good to see a conversation starting around a thought that you might have had.

People are having students blog in schools as well.  The concept of writing online is very powerful.  If students are also making their blog posts available to parents or other students, that’s great as well.  There’s the certain rush that they feel when they get replies.  It also reinforces the notion of publishing their opinion.

If you’re a Twitter user, you’re used to seeing hashtags.  These are words, phrases, etc. that follow the hash character – #.  You can make these hashtags anything that you want to and the more unique that you make one, and get people who are interested in the same topic to use it, the easier it is to track a topic through a maze of comments.  At the OTF Event recently, we used the hashtag OTF21C to identify messages coming from those who where using Twitter.

There is a special hashtag that isn’t tied to an event like this though.  It’s a common event that’s happening in classrooms world-wide.  The hashtag is “comments4kids“.  This is a special tag that teachers use to invite anyone who is willing to drop by and read what a class is blogging.  It’s also an invitation for you to make a comment or two on what you read.  When you do so, you can change the writing perspective of students in a heartbeat.  It’s one thing to get mom and dad to respond.  It’s their job to be supportive.  It’s another thing when someone from who knows where takes a moment to share a thought.  It reinforces the concept of bloggers as citizen journalists.  Like a newspaper editorialist, a comment from the reading public is very powerful.

It doesn’t require a big commitment.  Often, when I’m watching a football game, and the commercials come on, I’ll grab my laptop or iPad and do a search for the hashtag.  It doesn’t take long to read a short entry and then I like to somehow post a comment to the message and then ask a question of the student about their topic.  It takes perhaps 30 seconds.  But, the time that it takes is nothing compared to the excitement that gets related back from the teacher who appreciates the effort.

It’s not something that you need to do constantly.  When the need to  do a random act of kindness hits, give it a shot.  You’ll feel good and you may just make a big difference in a classroom somewhere.  What do you get started?  Here’s a place.  Take a second to help the blogging cause.

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OTR Links for 02/23/2011

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.