Making sense of Twitter

Twitter enjoys enormous popularity as a microblogging service largely due to its simplicity. On the downside, there is little organization to the Twitterverse and making sense of the stream of messagespassing through the system has become a significant challenge for everyone involved. As a solution, Twitter users have adopted the convention ofadding a hash at the beginning of a word to turn it into a hashtag. Hashtags have become the means in Twitter to create threads of conversationand to build communities around particular interests.In this paper, we take a first look at whether hashtags behave as strongidentifiers, and thus whether they could serve as identifiers for the Semantic Web. We introduce some metrics that can help identify hashtagsthat show the desirable characteristics of strong identifiers. We look atthe various ways in which hashtags are used, and show through evaluation that our metrics can be applied to detect hashtags that representreal world entities.