The Hashtag Craze

As of two weeks ago I have both a Twitter and a Tumblr account.  To be honest, I have long avoided the former and still haven’t a clue what the latter is.

Although I like the succinctness of 40 characters, I can’t imagine what I might have to say that might be of so much interest to others that it would be further disseminated.

Really, though, what confuses me are the hashtags.  I was therefore really excited about this week’s reading: “The Beginner’s Guide to the Hashtag”.

Let’s start, though, with my pre-conceptions before reading the article:

As I understand it, hashtags are organizational tools.  So I understand when people use their newborn’s name as a hashtag – whoever feels so inclined can do a quick search to find all information about the child prodigy.  This is what I would call a “personal hashtag” and it tends to be used by a limited group of people.  Then there’s the “politico-social hashtag”  which is used by an unlimited number of people, strangers, to talk about a common interest or landmark event.

Both of these I can understand.  But what I notice are generic hashtags like #soamazing.  This gives you no information about the subjects (which will be necessarily varied) and is also so vague that others wouldn’t even know to search for it.

So, either I’m missing something essential to Twitter or people are overusing hashtags.

The article confirmed that hastags are organizational but where it really helped me out was in explaining those “vague” hashtags that I just couldn’t wrap my brain around.  The author describes those as adding “tone and voice” or “context, humor, and voice” to posts.

My favorite example was: “Sarah Palin for President??!? #Iwouldratherhaveamoose.”  This did a lot to further my understanding.  That is, until I saw the last in the list of examples: “I’m loving ‘The Sound of Things Falling’ by Juan Gabriel Vasquez #FridayReads”

I fail to see how this adds tone or voice.  It does, of course, provide context, but, as with others I mentioned above, it seems too vague to be useful.  Unless there’s a “Friday reads” trend I’m unaware of…

Another of our articles for this week, “Hackademic Guide to Networking” , did address and dispell the preconcieved notion I had that Twitter is primarily for gratuitous self-promotion.  I was excited by the description of Twitter as a pedagogical tool and look forward to checking out the recommended accounts.

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1 Response to The Hashtag Craze

  1. Brooke – I share your…uncertainty?…about the hashtags (or octothorpes, as my bookish spouse insists on calling them). As cultural items, they seem so “overdone” that I am loathe to engage with them – too trendy! But it was helpful too to see some of the utility of them. (And I’m thinking that although “Friday reads” is probably not a thing/trend/statement, it could possibly provide links to lots of good reading ideas.)

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