Everything You Need To Know About Hashflags

By on May 2, 2016 in Design Trends
Everything You Need To Know About Hashflags

We all know what emojis are, right? They're those colorful graphics that you use on your smartphone's keyboard to represent feelings, animals, vegetables, or other random acts. Who doesn't like telling a story through pictures? As it turns out, everybody loves it, including Twitter. And that's why Twitter is working to monetize emoji in a way that they know all too well: hashtags. But now, they're called Hashflags.

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First, let's get to the basics of hashtags, just incase any of you have been vacationing under a rock for the better part of the last decade. When you use a hashtag on Twitter — the "#" symbol followed by a statement like #friendship, #squadgoals or #baconbits — you've entered a searchable term into the Twitter ecosystem. Whenever anybody clicks on that hashtag, it acts like a link, and brings you to other tweets that incorporate the same hashtag. Search #squadgoals and you'll get this, for example. It's a way to group like-minded things together, and it works out well for all involved.

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Hashflags — according to the website that documents these things, hashfla.gs — are "images that appear after a #hashtag, and are enabled on Twitter for specific occasions or events. Sometimes referred to as custom Twitter Emojis." Note the word "custom" squeezed in there. That's because just putting a hashtag out there won't magically create an emoji for the occasion. If you want one, you'll have to pay for it. And it's not cheap. If you tweeted #PepsiHalftime during the Super Bowl, you saw a hashflag promoting Pepsi. That cost them around seven figures — $1 million and up.

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Now that's the Super Bowl, and that's obviously a one-of-a-kind event. But there's more. NBA All-Star Weekend happened recently, and if you tweeted things for a player, you got certain Hashflags as a result. Just check these out:

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And then there are movies. Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice is going to be a big film, and they also have their own pair of hashflags:

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Captain America: Civil War is another notable tentpole film, but this one is for the Marvel Universe. Not only will they be using hashtags to promote the big opening weekend, but they'll also have Hashflags of their own:

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Complicating things further, Hashflags go live and dead during specific periods, so you wont see them all the time. #Batman won't bring up the iconic bat symbol today, for example, however we would bet that it will during opening weekend of the flick. As Business 2 Community explains, “Twitter custom emojis aren’t permanent. They only exist during the campaign period for the hashtag. After the campaign is over, all Tweets that featured the hashtag will no longer display a custom emoji within the Twitter interface. This allows hashtags to be recycled, reused, and possibly be claimed by a different brand."

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So what does all this mean? Well, for one, hashflags are a way for Twitter to make some cash. And even though they do make money, a quick search for #TwitterRIP shows you that tons of people think the service is on death's door. Monetizing Twitter further is obviously better for the company, and if you're a fan, better for you, too. It also means that you should expect to see more Hashflags out in the wild as it gains popularity amongst advertisers.

For now, at least, good or bad, Hashflags are here to stay.

via Fast Co. Design and AdWeek


Kevin Whipps is a writer and editor based in Phoenix, Arizona. When he's not working on one of the many writing projects in his queue, he's designing stickers with his wife at Whipps Sticker Co.

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