First, I want to apologize…I’ve been silent the past week. Been dealing with some personal demons and just haven’t had the mental capacity necessary to put much up here. Finally back to the world of the mentally living and trying to catch up on everything that fell to the wayside.
But today I want to talk to you about hashtags. What? You don’t know about hashtags? How is that possible? Webster just added the word to their dictionary. You know, the one you point at whenever your friends try to tell you that a word isn’t real, like ain’t or alright, or whatever. Yeah…that one. Hashtags are real…and they’re real stupid.
Basically, hashtags are used (primary within Twitter) as a way to connect your status with other people’s statuses…so, for instance, very often in the publishing world, there are little events where agents will offer to answer questions to the millions of stupid people who think their work is worth millions. They do so by telling everyone to use the hashtag #askanagent (or something like that) to the end of their posts, that way they are visible to all simply by searching. Sure, they could use some sort of forum system or reddit or whatever to do this all in a much more efficient and effective manner…but since when has the publishing world been known for being efficient and effective 😉 (yeah, we all know that publishers ain’t gonna come knocking on my door anytime soon anyways).
Hashtags are used in many ways, to meet many different ends, but more than anything are used as a simple way to search for people talking about a specific topic. You’ll see many of your television programs (if watching live tv) will have something in the corner that has a hashtag, such as #americanidol4lifeyo so that the tv show can hit the top trending spots on twitter and everyone can then be reminded that this show is on and you should care about it.
What I like, however, is how many events are now using hashtags in order to allow people to feel more connected to the event. They’ll have a big screen set up in the auditorium or whatever that tells you to use their hashtag so your message can get up on the big screen. As you can imagine…this can devolve into stupidity rather quickly.
Last weekend, my wife graduated college. It’s awesome. I’ll give you a moment to clap loudly in appreciation for her finally completing this task that has taken her 11 years to complete. Now, it’s not that she’s actually been in school those entire 11 years, just that she started it 11 years ago and has been working slowly ever since to get herself some paper…it’ll hopefully be coming in the mail soon.
This great local university was no different than most, I’m guessing, in that they had big enormous screens up and they told you to use their special hashtag to get your message up on the screen and give a shoutout to your favorite graduate.
In retrospect, it’s actually a rather sweet idea…well…sort of. I mean, if the graduates had actually be around to see the messages on the screen, it would be kind cool for them to be able to see it while they sit in their (much more comfortable than the bleacher I was sitting on) seats for the 2 hours of speeches and watching people walk incredibly short distances. But at the time, the only thing I could think of was…do these messages come up automatically or do they have someone filtering them. A few messages came by talking about sexy graduates and whatnot, but they all seemed to be fairly safe or whatever.
I considered, briefly, crafting an expletive-laced message to fully test my theory, however, I really didn’t want to be that guy. Instead, I crafted a completely stupid one.
Tweet hashtag, fun times #uwecgrad
It’s here that I should probably answer the question that none of you are actually asking…but probably should be. Yes, I do have a twitter account once again. I actually re-opened it for another rather similar reason to this message itself. You can find my at @fatmogul. I don’t use it, but feel free to send me horrible messages. Use hashtag #uwecgrad.
So, anyways, I sent the tweet and eagerly sat, shifting uncomfortably on the bleacher, as I watched the screens in anticipation of my stupid tweet being revealed.
Then the event began.
There actually wasn’t that much time between me sending the tweet and the event beginning. I didn’t feel as though I had been disproven. Just that there wasn’t enough time to show all the tweets that were obviously being sent to this hashtag.
I sat through the event, making sure to whoop uncharacteristically as my wife walked across the platform (or whatever they had been calling it) and being as uncomplainy as possible about the whole thing. Then it was over.
And then the tweets started reappearing.
And then mine showed up.
I was somewhat ecstatic. My theory had been proven. They would just allow any dumb old thing through. It really didn’t matter.
But then I saw that I had received a responding tweet.
It looked like this:
It made no sense. I assumed they had sent it on to everyone.
Later I would check…they hadn’t. I had been the only recipient of this image (from my minimal research anyways). They sense me nonsense in response to my nonsense…meaning…someone had been reviewing the tweets, saw mine, felt totally cool with sending it along to the big screen.
Hashtags are stupid.
But so are the people you put in charge of your social media exploits.
And that’s all I have for today….
Have fun out there!