I don’t think it’s a matter of me being old or a hipster or anything. Really, it’s aesthetics. Hashtags are ugly. They stand out, they’re garish, and worst of all they don’t allow for punctuation or spaces between words. I recognize the networking value in using them–even the societal value, from arranging protests to organizing a discussion to helping businesses (as annoying as it is when ads try to force hashtags–“#practicesafebreath” for a gum ad, for example–or TV shows having hashtags in the corners of the screen at all times).

Hashtags, apparently, are how you get followers. That’s their primary function. I guess people bank on people looking up used hashtags and stumbling upon their page and liking the content enough to follow them. I don’t know how often this happens–I imagine nine times out of ten it would result in a spam account following the hashtagger. Maybe that’s all that matters? A higher follower count, regardless of who/what it actually is?

I just don’t get why we can’t smooth it over a little. Rather than one hashtag, put one before and after a “tag”, whether a word or a sentence (with punctuation and spaces!) and make the #s invisible. URL links have been doing this for ages–the result being a highlight and/or underline for linked words/sentences. They stand out, but they’re not horrendously ugly or embarrassing to use. Better yet, make an option for hashtagged words to be invisible too. Most of the time they don’t actually need to be seen. You could still have them contribute to the character limit so they can’t be spammed (even behind the scenes).

I wish I didn’t need to use them to gain followers. I feel like I’m terrible at social networking for that one stubborn fact.

I don’t know. They’re dumb.


– H.

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