Okay, maybe it’s just me but what’s the deal with hashtags? Are they out of control or what? I understand the concept and can even see how they can be useful, but come on does every freakin’ message need to be hashtagged? For those of you who are unversed in the usage of hashtags as I was up until a few days ago, a hashtag is a data marker that turns topics and phrases into clickable links on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram posts. It is supposed to make Tweets and posts more meaninful and helps people find posts about topics they may be interested in.
Hashtagging a post is easy all you have to do is place the number sign # in front of a single word, topic or phrase and post it. For the hashtag to work properly you cannot leave any spaces between the words of the phrase. That’s all there is to it. Pretty simple right? Anyone can do it and it’s apparent that many people have jumped on board the hashtagging bandwagon. Suddenly social networking mediums have been overrun by hashtaggers. Their number is growing by leaps and bounds and is not limited to personal posters like ourselves, but is being used by businesses for marketing purposes and politicians as well.
Unfortunately many users don’t have a clue as to what they’re doing and are guilty of hashtag pollution, placing hashtags in front of nearly anything and everything! They add the tags to unrelated messages or use multiple hashtags simply to get attention. Believe it or not in researching hashtags I discovered that there is a hashtag protocol that should be followed. Adding a hashtag simply to get attention or using multiple hashtags in a single message is bad etiquette. There should be no more than two hashtags in a posted message, any more than that make the message hard to follow. So if you are currently a hashtagger or plan on becoming one keep it simple huh. Begin by asking yourself if your message is really important enough to hashtag. My advice – #don’tstart.
I think the whole hashtagging phenomena is ridiculous enough, but believe it or not there is an even stranger one in the works. Some kids have taken to using verbal shorthand and are saying “hashtags” out loud during normal conversations! Can you believe that? They’re hashtagging everything they say! Another passing fad? God I hope so! I tell you it a bit scary but comical non the less. And I’m not alone in my thinking. Recently Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake posted a video that pokes fun at the whole hashtag movement. You have to check it out.