Is anyone out there? Unpacking Q&A hashtags on twitter

Jeffrey M. Rzeszotarski, Emma S. Spiro, Jorge Nathan Matias, Andrés Monroy-Hernández, Meredith Ringel Morris

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

11 Scopus citations


In addition to posting news and status updates, many Twitter users post questions that seek various types of subjective and objective information. These questions are often labeled with "Q&A" hashtags, such as #lazyweb or #twoogle. We surveyed Twitter users and found they employ these Q&A hashtags both as a topical signifier (this tweet needs an answer!) and to reach out to those beyond their immediate followers (a community of helpful tweeters who monitor the hashtag). However, our log analysis of thousands of hashtagged Q&A exchanges reveals that nearly all replies to hashtagged questions come from a user's immediate follower network, contradicting users' beliefs that they are tapping into a larger community by tagging their question tweets. This finding has implications for designing next-generation social search systems that reach and engage a wide audience of answerers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCHI 2014
Subtitle of host publicationOne of a CHInd - Conference Proceedings, 32nd Annual ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Number of pages4
ISBN (Print)9781450324731
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes
Event32nd Annual ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2014 - Toronto, ON, Canada
Duration: Apr 26 2014May 1 2014

Publication series

NameConference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings


Other32nd Annual ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2014
CityToronto, ON

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


  • Hashtags
  • Information seeking
  • Q&A
  • Social search
  • Twitter

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