Commentary on the misuse of #hashtags from a lame old fart
28 September 2009
So I'm an old fart. It is something that I'm beginning to come to grips with and so should all of you. That being said, I'm beginning to get annoyed with the way some people choose to use and misuse hashtags.
I'm well aware that this is a free country, that Twitter is a free service, and that I should have absolutely no say in how people use Twitter. But that doesn't mean that I'm not an old fart and that I don't have an opinion and that I'm not about to voice that opinion right now.
Hashtags can be extremely useful. Using a hashtag in a tweet is very similar to tagging a blog post, a photo, or a bookmark. For instance, if I was going to send a tweet that I wanted to be searchable by a keyword or keywords that were not included in the tweet - such as #food or #ConferenceNameHere - then hashtags are incredibly powerful.
However, and this is the important part, when a tweet already includes the word you don't need to use a hashtag. If I was to send a tweet that said: "Writing a blog post about hashtags." I could append some hashtags like #writing #blog or the like. But that'd be redundant. I already said I was writing on my blog.
I can let this sort of abuse slide though. No big deal. Except there is a second hashtag offense that I see and it is this one in particular that I'm really beginning to loathe. I can not stand it when people use hashtags for a punchline or a snarky remark at the end of the tweets.
Example: "Writing a blog post about hashtags. #iMustBeLame". Or, "Writing a blog post about hashtags. #snarky #oldfart". Neither of those two examples are good jokes but I hope you get the point nonetheless.
I'm all for a good joke. I follow a lot of funny people on Twitter simply because I'm all for a good joke. But come on, using a hashtag as a punchline is wearing very, very thin.
For what its worth here is my strategy for tweeting and the use of hashtags. In general I try my very best to include all pertinent information into a tweet using normal language. So, if I did want to include the fact that I was lame and that my blog post about hashtags was going to be snarky and that I am an old fart for doing it - I'd probably tweet something like this: "Writing a snarky blog post about the misuse of hashtags. I'm either lame or just an old fart." No need for any hashtags and all of the information is included in the tweet in a readable, human way.
Now that I've got that off my chest I'm going to go on vacation for a few days in a place that has sun, sand, a remarkable view of the ocean, and that won't have Twitter access. Maybe by the time I get back I won't be such an old fart.