Justin Timberlake is all over the web today, as he is less than a week away from the release of The 20/20 Experience -- 2 of 2, he is in full promotion mode. He was on Jimmy Kimmel last night performing on Hollywood Boulevard, and in this bit with Jimmy Fallon they illustrate the ridiculousness of the # (hashtag) phenomenon.

If you are on Twitter and Instagram consistently then you probably understand this new form of communication where every statement is followed with a hashtag, what I once knew as a pound sign, and a related word - #hashtageducation.

If you have not migrated to communicating in 140 character statements or through filtered photos on instagram, then you will probably be wondering what the heck the two are speaking of.

Twitter offers explanations how to best use the hashtag effectively on their site:

Using hashtags to categorize Tweets by keyword:

  • People use the hashtag symbol # before a relevant keyword or phrase (no spaces) in their Tweet to categorize those Tweets and help them show more easily in Twitter Search.
  • Clicking on a hashtagged word in any message shows you all other Tweets marked with that keyword.
  • Hashtags can occur anywhere in the Tweet – at the beginning, middle, or end.
  • Hashtagged words that become very popular are often Trending Topics.
Wikipedia offers their own explanation of the hashtag:

hashtag is a word or a phrase prefixed with the symbol #.[1][2] It is a form of metadata tag. Short messages on microblogging and social networking services such as Twitter,Toutidenti.caTumblrInstagramFlickrGoogle+ or Facebook may be tagged by putting "#" before important words, either as they appear in a sentence, (eg. "New artists announced for #SXSW 2012 Music Festival!")[3] or appended to it.

Hashtags provide a means of grouping such messages, since one can search for the hashtag and get the set of messages that contain it.

Just don't overuse it.