A hashtag—written with a # symbol—is used to index keywords or topics on Twitter. This function was created on Twitter, and allows people to easily follow topics they are interested in. – https://support.twitter.com/articles/49309
Using the symbol of hashtag (#) before any of your keyword or phrase (without any space between the words) on Twitter makes that specific term clickable. Therefore, it is easier to be searched through Twitter platforms (desktop and mobile). In other word, this is an easier way to categorise your tweets for Twitter search engine and everyone who wants to follow and stay updated with news, events, conversations, etc.
Political communities usually use Hashtags to categorise their events, programs, visits, etc. for their supporters and other users on Twitter. For example, hashtag #presidentielle2017 is widely used to follow all events/news related to this year (2017) French presidential election. In addition, each candidate has few hashtags for this upcoming election in order to communicate easily with their supporters and the entire world out there. Some of those hashtags are made by the candidate’s name or family name (depending on the candidate!).
Here we demonstrate official hashtags used by candidates and their communities to promote their candidacy in upcoming French presidential election (alphabetically sorted):
- #fillon2017 (#fillon)
- #hamon2017 (#hamon)
- #jlm2017 (#jlm)
- #macron2017 (#macron)
- #marine2017 (#marine)
There are other hashtags evolving through time in each political community as well. For instance, hashtag #AuNomDuPeuple is used by Le Pen and her community as one of her slogans in this election. Here you can see the evolution of this hashtag for the past 6 months:
Evolution of #AuNomDuPeuple (The highest week is the first Le Grand Débat)
However, this ability of easier access to each candidate and their media through hashgtags also gives the opportunity to some political communities to use the hashtags of their opponents to fill the search results with a different views of those candidates while criticizing them in tweets. The evolution of this practice has been quantified in a previous post with the hostility index.
Surprisingly, as shown below, the community of Marine Lepen is using the #Macron hashtag way more than its own #Marine2017, which is quite unusual. Is worth noticing as an extreme mark of hostility.
The next chart shows how the community of Marine Le Pen has been using other opponent’s hashtag more than their own official hashtags for the past 6 months:
Top Hashtags used by the community of Le Pen
We chose one candidate’s community at random to present this phenomena (over using the opponents’ hashtags) on Twitter, but other political communities are not shying away: