The miracle of the hashtag

As part of hyperlink culture, the hashtag (#) has revolutionised the internet and it has even made its way into raising awareness, leading discussions and even slithering its way into everyday conversation with some of the Generation Y population. It is a powerful tool for conveying a message about an important or non-important topic; it could be a person, place or a thing. The prospect of the hashtag is to create a link in a post on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram or any other social networking sites, therein would lead the reader onto a tag list in which other users are posting about the same discourse.

The hashtag started to kick off July 2, 2009 on Twitter, in which the social media site hyperlinked all hashtags in tweets to the twitter search of the desired word. Since then social networking sites such as Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram and Youtube have all adapted to the idea of the hashtag. Celebrities such as Ellen Degeneres, Lady Gaga and Bruno Mars are all using hashtags in their daily lives, whether it be a facetious joke or genuinely creating awareness, the hashtag is not a stranger to users in our social media. The hashtag has also been used to raise awareness for political, social and economical issues; a prominent issue was the 2012 Kony incident which was very controversial, it lead users to create #StopKony to give awareness to the issue.

But just as the hashtag has its advantages, it can prove to be a hindrance and create some issues.  A very well known incident revolving around hashtags was the #cutforbeiber incident. This created a ginormous controversy in which internet users began questioning the absurdness of the hashtag, proving to users that sometimes hashtags isn’t used for the greater good, and can be misused. Mandy Kilinskis makes a great point of mentioning in her article that the hashtag has also been overused; tweens posting selfies on Instagram or Facebook, writing #selfies #feelinggood #lovinglife #smiles #happy, clogging up the social media website with needless spam of redundant pictures of teenage selfies.

Personally, I find the hashtag to be a vital part out our culture. There hasn’t been a time when I was watching a live TV show and the host sent out a tweet with a hashtag. I would respond to their tweet, hashtag and tag them in hopes of having my tweet flash for 5 seconds on the screen on national TV. Some of the bars and nightclubs I’ve been to also have a large flat screen TV in which would display customers tweets about requests for music, reviewing the service, and just making a status. I feel as if the hashtag has not only made its way to the internet, but has made its way into everyday conversation. It is not uncommon for me to hear “haha #yolo” or “#swag” in verbal conversation; as a whimsical joke on their behalf and slightly mocking the hashtag culture.

As I’ve reiterated many times, the hashtag continues to currently trend in our culture for quite a while now. But, the media is unpredictable and the hashtag one day might be simply pushed out of our culture and remain in the book of hyperlink history; therein some new trend may arise revolutionising the hyperlink culture just as much as the hashtag did.


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