#phenomenon

To answer the question all of you are simultaneously asking right now, yes, yes you do pronounce the "#" in this title...and it's pronounced "hashtag".


This is an ode to the love/hate relationship that we all have with this ambiguous symbol we've come to know as the "hashtag".

A little personal history.

I was born in 1989. So that means that this, #, has been known to me as the "number sign" and the "pound key" before anyone that I knew began calling it a "hashtag". I use it when I call to check my balance on a store gift card ("Please enter the 450 digit number and then press the pound key"). I used to use it when I numbered things in school, or let's be honest, when I passed a note in class. I use it each and every day to get into my apartment. Some even still call it the "tick-tack-toe game board" (I don't actually know if that's a thing, but if it's not, it should be). I certainly cannot wrap my mind around how one little tiny symbol can have so many meanings and evoke so many emotions.

I, for one, am considering just making "hashtag" the universal name for this, "#". From now on, if you're coming to see me or the mister, you may call me and I'll tell you to dial "hashtag, one, two, three, four" to get into our neighborhood (Note: All of these numbers have been changed for privacy, but actually, that probably is someone's gate code).

Now that we're all on the same page here and we're all calling this, "#", a "hashtag", let me tell you a little story about my first hashtag. It's quite sentimental. Seriously, get your tissues ready people.

I reluctantly joined the Twittersphere in January of 2011. I was the person behind all of the Children's Homes social media, therefore I figured I should probably step up my game and create a Twitter account of my own. But, that's not the beginning of my hashtagging history. It actually took me almost 20 tweets to reach my first hashtag. And what was this memorable hashtag? Well, I didn't actually remember, so earlier today I scrolled back through my 2,171 tweets and found out that it was this...(drumroll please): #bittersweet.

It actually is kind of sentimental, even though I said that being 100% sarcastic earlier.

Also, don't let that tweet fool you...I still buy school supplies. Every semester I choose a class from the list at Walmart and I buy myself a little something special. This year, I was a first grader in Mrs. Darnell's class. Just kidding, I totally made all of that up. Not a bad idea though...I may have created a new tradition.

When I began my planning for this post, I was going to give you the actual history and origin of the hashtag. Buuuuuut... then I decided that would be super borning and no one actually cares. Instead, I'm going to give you some life lessons for your hashtags to live by.

Here we go. Buckle up.

Jessica's Life Lessons for your Hashtags to Live By:

1. Keep your hashtags witty and/or relevant. Don't hashtag just for hashtagging's sake. If you're tweeting about a show you're watching and a not-so-subtle hashtag pops up in the corner of the screen, use it. But don't say, something like "I'm watching The Bachelorette tonight and bachelor #3 is lookin' fine #youlookawesomebachelor3pleasemarryme." Don't do that. Just make your hashtag "thebachelorette". It's obvious and relevant. And also, don't tweet about how fine the bachelors on that show are. Their egos are already way too big.

2. You don't have to hashtag everything in sight. If you're tweeting or instagramming a photo (yes, I just made "instagramming" a verb), don't hashtag everything that the light touches (and yes, that's a Lion King reference). If you're tweeting a pic from a Braves game, seriously, don't hashtag every detail. #braves #baseball #summernight #jumbotron #chickfila #cow #chop #thisishowwechop #hotdog #chair #dugout #cleats #bat - NOT NESSEARY. For the love of all that is good in the social media universe, please don't do that!! You think I'm joking, but I have seen people do it before.
 
Exhibit A(wful):
I sincerely apologize if any of these hashtags are offensive.
I don't know what some of them mean, and with a Bob Marley quote...well...you just never know.
Exhibit B(ewildering):
Everyone's dream pets: a cat and a ferret. I
promise they'll love you like a puppy would.
3. Limit your hastags to about two, maybe three per post. Think of two really strong, relevant, or witty hashtags. Stick with those. Quality > Quantity my friend.
4. Don't string more than a few words together in a single hashtag. Don't think that you can try to sneak around rule number three by stringing 10 words together.If I have to take a screenshot of your tweet or Instagram photo, go to my Camera Roll, then zoom in, all in order to read your hashtag, it's too long. Break it up. You'll be better for it. 

#donotstringabunchofwordstogetheritisnoteffectiveipromiseyouthatmuchistrue

5. Don't speak in hashtags. It's really just tacky. Unless you're transcribing what someone else said, or maybe quoting something someone said, don't say the word "hashtag" followed by a phrase, even it if is witty and/or relevant. People will look at you strange, and no one wants that. If I had it my way, we'd all carry around Pinterest-y chalkboards and anytime we thought of a hashtag that we wanted to verbally share, we'd just write it out, hold it up, and move on. Just promise me that you won't be like Kasey from the Bachelorette when he got out of the limo. If you're not sure what I'm talking about...go watch it (first episode of this season). You'll cringe. It's rough. Poor guy. No one told him the rules.

So there they are...the rules of this hashtag phenomenon...or at least my rules. As in any high stakes competition, remember to play by the rules and keep it classy. That's all I've got for today, friends.

(Note: This blog post was brought to you by way too much caffine)

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Posted on June 18, 2013 and filed under "hastag", "rules".