Stop #Hashtag Abuse!

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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.

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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.

 

Write Like Me

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My writing is something I have kept private most of my life. I have been keeping journals since I was six years old. I started making up and writing my own stories soon after. But I’m a private person. I value my alone time and have always been hesitant to share most of my writing with others. Like any kind of art or interest, it’s personal. The things I write are important to me, or I wouldn’t be writing them.

It has taken me a long time to realize that what I have to say is important. It has taken even longer to work up the courage to share it with others. And I can’t even describe to you the convincing I had to do with myself to finally set up this blog and make my writing public.

I know that the best way to learn how to write well is to read the things that other people write. So I spend a lot of time reading, studying, and learning. I study writing styles and practice various writing techniques. I have worked hard for most of my life to hone my skills and become a better writer.

But I ran into a problem.

I read these other blogs and began to feel even more inferior and insecure about my abilities. I don’t feel I can be as charming or witty as many other writers. I don’t feel I have the deep levels of perception and artistic expression that many of the writers I admire possess.

I’ll admit that there was a period of time where I stopped writing for pleasure. I stopped journaling. I stopped even considering starting a blog. I focused my writing on only paying freelance projects because that was “safe.” There is very little outside judgment to be found in writing a how-to article about social media marketing.

Then I realized something:

Comparing myself to other writers would do nothing but hold me back, especially in the freelance market where I’m competing with a slew of writers who are much more experienced than me. The key to success is establishing confidence in my abilities and my individual writing style.

This confidence is a choice I have to make every day. Even if my pieces are rejected forty-nine out of fifty times, I need to focus on that one success and strive to reproduce it.

I need to stop comparing myself to other writers who, even though I admire them, don’t have the same stories to tell.

They have their own stories, their own experiences, their own thoughts, and perspectives.

And that’s what I bring to the table – my own take on the world and my own experiences.

Worrying about what other people think of my writing will only hold me back. I’m not writing to impress. I’m writing because it’s what I love. I write in a style that makes me most comfortable. I don’t need to try to write like other people. I only need to write like me.