Hashtags have been around for a while now. When I started out on Twitter, in 2011, I recall a certain apprehension about using them. What did they mean? Would I do it right? How does a hashtag work, anyway?
Hashtags were meant to group similar items together. For example, if you wanted your information to be visible with related information on parenting, you’d use the hashtag #parenting. Later, you could click on that hashtag to search for parenting-related items. A keyword, if you will. If you’ve organized an event, you create a hashtag. If you want the world to know about your new campaign, or want people to tweet about the new season of your over-the-top premium cable show, you create a hashtag.
Well, hashtags have evolved. And I’d like to discuss a few ways in which they’ve come to, ahem, enhance our lives.
This is probably the most frequently used useless use of the hashtag. I do it, you do it. The hashtag has become the punchline, the answer to the question, the last word.
Case in Point: Jimmy Cracks Corn #andidontcare
Useful? No. Annoying? Yes.
Part of the Facebook Status
In the not-so-distant past, Facebook users would add hashtags to their statuses. Facebook, however, had not yet developed a hashtagging system, so, really, there was no point. Facebook, now a few days late and about twelve dollars short, has instituted its own hashtagging system, for which I’ve not yet found a practical application. In a word, Facebook hashtags don’t work. Furthermore, they look silly. Even furthermore, do you really want your grandmother hashtagging? It’s creepy. Stop it, Nana. And knock it off, Facebook.
Little Jimmy has his first football game of the season today! Can’t wait to see him as a starting quarterback! #bringingmyhemorrhoidpillow
Stressful day? Trying to be extra funny? Hashtag it!
Example: Ugh. Stuck in traffic. Again. #hateroutethreeonmondaymorning
Why does that have to be a hashtag? Because it doesn’t.
The Casual Hashtag
You don’t use hashtags normally, but you’re feeling feisty. You might be excited about something coming up. Therefore you tweet (or, of course, Facebook) #football. Or #butterbrickle. Or #peaceandquiet. And nothing else.
We feel you.
The End of the Sentence
Sometimes, your tweet isn’t good enough on its own. In that case, we split it up and hashtag that bad boy. Why? Who cares? Because we can!
Example: So tired. #needwineandamassage #calgontakemeaway
The Answer We Just Can’t Give Out Loud
The Answer We Just Can’t Give Out Loud is helpful mainly to female heads of household, to demonstrate sentiments that should be shouted from rooftops, if only they didn’t draw the attention of local authorities or social service organizations.
My kids are asking me when I will be done with my bath. #never #leavemealone #lalalaicanthearyou
My husband wants to know what I’m cooking for dinner. #buzzoff #ordertakeout
To Demonstrate Belongingness
You’re part of a society dedicated to a beloved cause. You want everyone to know it. Therefore, you do.
So hungry! #ganjagrowersunite
Hot date tonight! Trimming the tribble! #trekkiesgonnagetsome
Finally got that seatbelt buckled! #mensaFTW
The Spoken Hashtag
The spoken hashtag is the most egregious hashtagging offense imaginable, in my ever-so-humble opinion. This is when someone actually speaks the words ‘hashtag’ prior to, in general, making a snide remark. The spoken hashtag, and other texting-to-speaking transitional English, I’ve observed, is used mostly by the under twenty-five set and people who work on entertainment news shows. I try to give them the benefit of the doubt because of their a) inherent lack of life experience, or b) inherent lack of life experience, but it’s so very hard to let it go.
Next time you hear someone outside yelling, “Hashtag: Fierce!” you have my blessing to just nick them a little with your car.
If you hear someone yelling, “Hashtag: Oh Em Gee!” then you take them out, back up, and do it again.