Using Hashtags to Organize Files on the Cloud

The hashtag has been a popular means of tracking Internet user activity for years now. First appearing on social media websites like Twitter, the “#” character has become an internationally recognized symbol, even appearing on Newsweek’s final print issue cover (#LastPrintIssue) to represent their switch to a strictly online format. What makes the hashtag so popular, though, and how can it be implemented in activity outside of the Internet?

Using Hashtags to Organize Files
The proper use of a hashtag in a Twitter post.

The Popular Use of the “#” Hashtag

In 2009, the “#” began appearing vastly online on the website Twitter as a means of organizing posts into different topics. When a user posts on Twitter using a hashtag at the end of the post, usually a phrase comprised of two or three relevant words, then the post can automatically be seen by users searching for posts just about anywhere online using that particular tag.

Other websites such as YouTube have also utilized the “#” character in user comments as a means of monitoring user activity without the need for an administrator. It’s proven to be an extremely effective and popular way to store information across the Internet. Since the lack of typical use of the “#” in normal text, this makes it a good character that’s easily recognized as a symbol for hashtags.

Using the Hashtag for Organizing Data on the Cloud and Elsewhere

Not only is the hashtag concept good for online activity monitoring, but it’s also proven to be a largely helpful way to organize files and folders within a computer so they’re more easily located. Attaching the “#” as a prefix to a filename can enable the database to locate it instantly, recognizing the hashtag so that they can be quickly accessed.

Storing information for multiple users across the cloud (the massive digital space meant for mass storage) can be much more easily done when the “#” or other identifying character is used to organize shared files. For instance, the use of the “#” can be attributed to a folder containing files that are relevant to a user, but only if the folder can travel across systems freely. As a result, a list of file or folder names containing the string of words following the tag can be instantly brought up, saving search time when looking for individual folders or files.

Using hashtags in Google Docs can assist in migrating files, but only individual files can contain hashtags as Google Docs doesn’t cooperate with users’ PC folders and requires its own. But by having files, for instance the unique title “Family Picnic 3″ followed by the hashtag “#FamilyPicnic2012″, it can make it so all of the files to be found collectively under that particular tag. If another user wishes to locate all of the files labeled with a particular tag, all that needs to be searched for within the system is the tag. The file itself can be labeled with the specific tag, and no matter what platform on which the cloud is shared, every file containing a labeling tag should be locatable with no problems.

Relying on local storage on its own can be a terrible decision these days, as having a cloud-based storage system can allow data to be accessed on multiple platforms, making data loss an almost outdated fear. To choose mass storage, enabling users to access hashtag-based file systems, means data can be stored just about anywhere at any time without hassle. This system also allows for much time saved on searching for data, when a file with a “#”-prefixed label makes the database work more efficiently.

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