Hashtags have become a part of everyday life. Literally…
#WCW (Woman Crush Wednesday)
#TBT (Throwback Thursday)
#FlashbackFriday (Why do we need 2 of these, again?)
#Caturday (Apparently this is a thing?)
We use them, love them, and abuse them. But why do we use hastags? What is the point? And most importantly – how can we make abusive hashtagging stop??
Merriam-Webster defines “hashtag” as: a word or phrase preceded by the symbol # that classifies or categorizes the accompanying text (such as a tweet).
Hashtags are GREAT, especially when you want to find videos from Taylor Swift’s latest concert, or pictures of really cute animals or children, or if you’re looking for funny/inspirational quotes.
However, we also use hashtags for tons of things that don’t really make sense, like…
to let people know you are naturally good looking #nofilter
to humble-brag #blessed
to let people know you took a photo yourself (like we couldn’t tell) #selfie
to laugh at yourself #lolololol
Before I share the major ways hashtags are abused, please hear me say, if you do any of the following, I am not judging you (I have done most of these myself). And I am not even telling you to stop using hashtags – just please be smart/reasonable/intentional when you use hashtags.
5 Ways to Misuse #Hashtags
5. #PhotoOfTheDay #IAmCool
Let me just say, when you use hashtags to build yourself, your tweet, or your picture up, you make it not cool. Sorry, Mr. Pasta Man, but I do not think that your picture is going to be “Photo of the Day” for anyone besides your mom.
Don’t feel the need to #hashtag how great your material is; instead, let other people tell you how great/pretty/cute you are – it means more coming from them!
4. #This #is #not #a #sentence
Just because you can hashtag something, doesn’t mean that you should. Be intentional about the hashtags you use. If they have a purpose, great! If you use too many hashtags, it’s annoying.
Plus, if you buy into Merriam-Webster’s definition, hashtags are meant to categorize, and who wants to look up pictures of #the? Not me.
I love event and wedding hashtags (see my own wedding hashtag above)! I think they are fun and perfect for when you want to look back on an event or see the bride of a wedding you missed. However, bad event hashtags are a pet peeve of mine.
Don’t use forever long hashtags that no one can remember and therefore will not use like, #MrandMrsTieTheKnotandLiveHappilyEverAfter. No one will ever take the time to type that out.
Also, don’t use event hashtags that are unspecific and have been used 1,000,000 times already, it defeats the purpose! #Fundraiser #BeSpecific
Event hashtags are popular and useful, but don’t abuse your hashtag power or feel the need to create a hashtag when it won’t serve a purpose. Once again, be intentional.
First of all, this is a real hashtag…that tens of thousands of people have used.
I might step on some toes with this one, but #please be careful when you create hashtags for you children!
Yes, they are cute and yes, creating individual hashtags makes it easier for you to find all of their pictures in one place, but you also just made it easy for me and Creepy-Joe-next-door to find those same pictures…
Post pictures of your kids (or pets) and make us all jealous of their cuteness, but remember that one day, they might have their own social media, and they might not want everyone to be able to access all of their childhood pictures with one click of a cleverly-crafted #hashtag.
1. #LikeMe #FollowMe #Like4Like
This is a HUGE one. Don’t believe me?
As of right now on Instagram, #likeme has been used 7,762,513 times. #follow me has been used 262,561,542 times.
Yep. That is literally millions of posts asking people to like, follow, comment, and approve of their pictures.
In this social media driven culture, your success is sometimes based solely on how many twitter followers, instagram likes and comments you have. However, using these hashtags can be so self-deprecating. Wanting to gain a like or follower at any cost (even if it’s spam) doesn’t make you more popular, it makes you look desperate.
If you want some more insight into this particular subject, check out Sarah Brooks’ post, “Parents: A Word about Instagram”!
Let’s agree to hold our hashtags to higher standards and not fall into the trap culture sets when it tries to trick you into breaking the internet with excessive hashtag use!