Q&A With Laurie Paolone, Founder of HashAtIt.com, The Hashtag Search Engine
New hashtags are surfacing every day. From the popular community tweet chats to the breaking news and trending hashtag topics, these aggregated conversations certainly have captured our attention.
I was recently introduced to Laurie Paolone by my friends at the Social Network Station. Laurie is the founder of HashAtIt.com, which is an easy to use search engine for hashtags. With her love of the hashtag, Laurie has also launched a new podcast program called, “The Hashtag Show” as a part of the #50Shows Empowering Women movement, to give women a voice and a platform through Internet radio. It’s no surprise that Laurie’s first special guest on the show was the founder of the hashtag, Chris Messina.
Whether you’re tracking hashtags professionally or just personally to stay “in the know,” here the Q&A with Laurie sharing her vision and insights on the future of the hashtag:
Q. How did you come up with the idea for HashAtIt.com?
A. I came up with the idea of HashAtIt.com when I was creating a brand new website for a small town in Italy called Castropignano. It’s a town my parents were born in and we go there every summer. Last year (summer of 2013) when I was developing the www.castropignano.com website I noticed that people were using the hashtag #Castropignano and posting really beautiful photos on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter. I wanted a way to have all of the #Castropignano hashtags, from all those different social media sites, to appear on one page. I couldn’t find a website like that so I decided to create one of my own. And that’s how www.HashAtIt.com was created.
Q. How long did it take to develop the site?
A. I am the type of person that doesn’t like to talk or dream about stuff, if I have a vision I like to execute it as fast as possible. So, I started thinking about it in September 2013 and the more I thought about the idea the more I liked it. So, I started to plan it out and began working on it in October and by January 1st of 2014, I launched it to the public.
Q. What do you think is the future of the hashtag?
A. It’s got a huge future. Today, hashtags are everywhere! More and more people are using them every day. The more people use them, the more we are finding out why they are so useful. Hashtags are becoming a world of their own. Kind of how numbers live in a universe of their own. The same goes for the hashtag.
Q. You have recently launched a new podcast show, called the Hashtag Show as a part of the #50Shows initiative. Tell us about your program and what you’re trying to achieve?
A. It’s a show that will be bringing you weekly guests who have impacted today’s culture with the use of #hashtags. Every week I am going to bring really interesting people who use social media and #hashtags to promote themselves and or their company/brand. Hopefully, it will teach people how #hashtags are being used in today’s culture and how they can use them themselves for whatever reasons they have.
Q. What is your favorite hashtag and why?
A. My favorite hashtag is of coarse #Castropignano I like to see what the community is doing on a daily basis. I also like to look up #Puglife I am a pug owner and love pugs, I can’t get enough of pug photos and videos. I am also a huge fan of MMA. I constantly lookup hashtags that the event uses to promote a fight for example, #Bellator131 or #UFC181. I uses hashtags like those so that I can have all the latest news, and conversations that are going on about the event and the fighters who are fighting in the event.
Q. What hashtags do you follow regularly, and how do they help you feel more connected to world events?
A. I follow the hashtag #BreakingNews a lot. Its the best way for me to get the latest news going on in the world (in real time) just by entering that #hashtag on hashatit.com. It’s a sure and fast way for me to be kept in the loop about everything going on in the world.
Q. What’s next for HashAtIt.com?
A. I am most excited for “The Hashtag Show” podcast and getting the opportunity to share my enthusiasm for hashtags with the world. I also want to teach people how they can get the most use from using #hashtags.
Anything new in the works?
Well, I just launched the HashAtIt APP for the Apple devices, Androids devices and I also just launched a Facebook app. People are really loving them. You can get more information on them here: http://hashatit.com/blog/help-center/do-you-have-an-app/
And for 2015, I have big plans for www.HashAtIt.com. I am going to try my best to make it a WORLDWIDE name. I want to get every country using hashatit.com on a daily basis. I want HashAtIt.com to become known worldwide as being like a Google search engine, but for #hashtags.