I don’t like hashtags. It’s as simple as that. I know, I know, social media mavens and mediators extoll the virtues of the hashtag as if their lives depended on it: The hashtag is our friend. The hashtag organizes and facilitates tweets. The hashtag tells the world whatever it needs to know by use of a singular little #. As much as I like Twitter, the hashtag guy / gal should never have been invited to the dance. And, yes, it is one or the other. I haven’t decided which yet.
I can write whatever I need to say in the requisite 140 characters or less and you’d get the message. You’d know what compartment (mental) to file it in. But you want the known world to have access to your ramblings so every other #word is preceded by a #hashtag. Did I just hashtag the hashtag? My tweeps think I’ve gone mad. I have, really: My second week of tweets and twolls (yes, they do exist!) has left me frazzled. I can read a tweet and know the subject. Do I really want to know what everyone else thinks about it? Is this the crux of social media? You would’t compose a thank-you note or a birthday greeting or a letter of sympathy and tweet it, now would you? Yes you would because I’ve seen 318 jillion zillion of them in the last 2 weeks, all hashtagged to death: @me-me #thank U 4 the #wish. #thanks and @you-you #happy #bday 2 #day, and @you-me #sory #uncle #jak is #dead. #death #sorrow.
I understand fully that corporations and sundry businesses see the hashtag as as a robust marketing tool, as do the tweeps that I follow. But, surely, the hashtag has run amok. I think it’s just that tweeps have a tendancy to try and out do one another with the frequency and intensity of their tweets. @mparel has learned to tweak a tweet fifty different ways so as to completely trick the Twitter gods into publishing said tweet fifty times a day. The very same tweet, mind you. As I rearrange the tweet, I throw in a couple of hashtags rearranging them too; to wit, @mparel I c u later. #bye #nothere #gone. Then @mparel c u #later. #gone #bye. Nonsense? Not if you’re trying to up your blog hits. Read what @dcPriya has to say about hashtags and her blog. In addition to being hashtag royalty, Ms. Barron is a blogger and author extraordinaire and the best tweep on the planet. (Psst – I’ll get the chocolates later, Ashley.)
Most tweeple have their own ideas about what a hashtag should be. I say it should be short and simple; to the point and not something like #iwantpierremarcolinichocolatesonlyonsundaymornings. Still, I don’t even like the short ones. It’ not like they’re superheroes or anything and they surely can’t fly. But almost: They trend. To see what’s trending, at the speed of light no less, Tweetping tracks them continuously. Tell TweetChat which hashtag you’d like to tweet about and the site connects you to a room full of like-minded hashtag-happy tweeps. Twitterholics tweet about why they tweet incessantly using the hashtag #tweetingtoomuch.
You know now why I’m so against the poor old hashtag. Old? Yes, old. A concept created by Chris Messina way back in 2007, the hashtag is now misused and abused. It’s time someone comes up with another way of facilitating tweets. Not me. I’m just getting started with this whole blogging and tweeting thing. Anyway, because I know so little about the blogosphere and the Twitterverse, I leave it to greater minds to relieve my anguish by finding a replacement for the hashtag, leaving the octothorpe for my use on my phone.