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A little over a month ago I challenged myself to start using #hashtags to categorize my tweets. Why? To start tracking my tweets based the content I posted. It was a social experiment on myself. I wasn’t sure what would happen or even expected a specific outcome. But I looked at the data and I realized something…

#frivolous – stupid tweets – 34 tags
#gratitude –
thank you’s – 3 tags
#muwblog –
links to my blog - 12 tags
#muwq –
public question – 10 tags
#muwquote –
my/others’ quotes - 4 tags
#muwpinion –
personal opinion – 22 tags
#muwshare –
links to things – 73 tags
@______ –
duh – 202

Frivolous/Total = 34/360

What jumped out at me within the first day of using the tags was I was becoming more relevant! I purposely had #frivolous as one of my categories. These tweets consisted mostly of the annoying bullshit you see a lot of people doing… i.e. “I just ate a tune sandwich”, “My poop took 49 minutes today!” I wanted to become less like these twats. There was no conversation to be had there. It wasn’t driving interaction. After the first day I tried as hard as I could to tweet stuff that people would want to read. I’m on the low end of the spectrum as far as follows/followers with only about 1100+, but I’m sure they all follow about the same amount of people. You have a lot of tweets flowing and the less crap you have to read the better. Relevance makes you stick out (duh)!

The second thing I noticed, which builds on the first, was that I was making more statements. #muwpinion was the driver. I was turning #frivolous tweets into relevant tweets by making statements. No longer did I write “I’m watching hulu at 3 am again!” it was “Hulu rocks! Absolutely the best. Thank you Hulu for being my entertainment #muwpinion”. Transformed! I was forcing myself to take a stand on things, not to mention being grateful (#gratitude).I guess I was holding myself back on the internet. I was letting the links I shared do the talk instead of talking for myself.

The best part, I was becoming more engaging. My little experiment lead me to be aware of my audience and more relevant in their conversations. This is not a surprise to anyone who “gets it.” I thought I “got it” too, but apparently I wasn’t on the spot as I could have been. Overall, I’m less afraid of tarnishing “my brand“  on the internet, and letting myself just be me. I’m a worldly guy. I like a lot of stuff from science/tech, to movies, to fashion. I want to talk about those thing and share my thoughts openly. Even my @’s are better and I’m not afraid to throw some jabs at people like I do in “real life”. Yes, I still spend too much time on the internet (#muwpinion). But I’m not hiding behind a screen and keys. @MerlinWard is the Merlin U Ward you would meet on the street.

I’ll keep up the #hashtag categories. Keeps me in check and if anyone ever wants to see what that tag has brought in the past, they can find it.