I’ve made it no secret that I loathe the overuse (or even general use) of the hashtag. I mean, what is the point?
Getting the day going with a cup of coffee! #java #ilovecoffee #coffeerules #wakeupwithjoe #imsotired #inventawaytomainlineit #ihatemondays #letsallgobacktosleep #ilikeusinghashtagsbecauseithinkitmakesmelookcool #tryreadingthiswithoutyoureyescrossing
Seriously? Is that really necessary?
I don’t know about you, but I skip right over the string of hashtag text and move onto something else.
I’ll admit that it wasn’t until I did some work for a marketer that I realized the hashtag has an actual, functional purpose.
The hashtag began on Twitter as a tool for personal connections and marketing. For instance, if you were looking for a group of people interested in coffee, you would search #coffee and find all of the people who have used it. Then you are free to connect with like-minded people who want to talk about coffee.
It works the same way in blogging and marketing all over social media. If you are trying to find a business or individual that specializes in web development and marketing, you could search for #webcontent or #onlinemarketing.
You can even search for articles or pages related to your area of interest with things like #photography or #gardening.
Now that I am a little more educated on the use of the hashtag, I have made my peace with it. I have even used it myself a few times in blogs and freelance work (although I still refuse to use it on my personal page for purely superficial, stubborn reasons).
So, now that you have been educated on the proper use of the hashtag, I would like to make a genuine request from the deepest part of my heart:
STOP THE ABUSE!
Stop the visual assaults on your innocent, unsuspecting friends and family who just want to peruse Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest for a bit of peaceful entertainment over their morning coffee (or tea… I don’t judge).
Stop stringing together useless words and phrases that no one in their right mind would ever think to search. Not once have I ever thought, “Hmm, I wonder how many people are interested in #ihavehemorrhoidsandtheyhurtlikeabitch?” No one is clicking on that. NO ONE.
There’s nothing wrong with tossing in a quick #tbt or #sundayfunday. I’ll be the first to admit that I even look forward to a little #mcm. (I’m looking at you, Chris Hemsworth. Rawr.)
All I ask is that you use discretion. Stop and think before throwing together a string of hashtags. If you’re unsure, ask yourself these questions:
Is it useful?
Is it relevant?
Is it easy to read?
Are there two or less?
Did I leave out mention of all bodily functions?
Will I still have friends after this?
If the answer to all of these is “yes,” then #hashtag your little heart out. If the answer to even one of these questions is “no,” then I implore you to stop and reevaluate your life.
If you struggle to resist abusing #hashtags and find yourself inadvertently typing #mykidssmearpooponwalls and pressing enter, please seek professional help.
I ask that you join me in my campaign to #stophashtagabuse. And, for the love of the Internet, don’t drink and #hashtag.