I remember thinking hashtags were a bit useless on twitter when I first started seeing them. So I, along with most of my Twitter A list, started making fun of them. Some, like @edadkins, have been known to hashtag every word in the tweet! There are resources to track hasntags on Twitter, Hasntags.org and elsewhere, and plenty of articles explaining it.
So did an experiment yesterday. When Jay-Z and TPain were the top two trending topics on Twitter I sent the message below.
Then I sat back and waited for this awesome photo of my grandmother I took on a visit to Virginia City last weekend to get thousands and thousands of views.
Honing in on hashtags is pointless. No one will click on a spurious link in a bogus tweet using an inappropriate hashtag. Perhaps if you actually write a out-and-out lie like “Tpain and Jay-Z photographed having sex in an alley,” You might get something.
No one reads hashtags. If they did, i would suspect a significant number of them would investigate every possible lead, but clearly (anecdotaly) they are not.
No significant amount of people read the trending topics page on Twitter. Same reasons as in conclusion 2.
In closing: Hashtags, while occasionally funny, are useless for marketing; Trending topics are uninteresting except for giving us something to talk about when we give social media presentations; and this photo of my grand mother kicks ass.