Thursday, August 22, 2013
If you’ve ever used Twitter, or any social media platform for that matter, then you’re definitely familiar with the term “hashtag.” You may not be an expert on the use of hashtags, but you’ve heard the term nonetheless.
Twitter hashtags are keywords or phrases preceded by the “#” symbol, which operate as a means of categorizing and tracking topics that are “trending.” So, what the heck does trending mean? Well, if something is trending, it means that it is one of most popular topics being tweeted about at that very moment.
It turns out a lot of people aren’t quite sure how hashtags work, but that doesn’t stop them from (over)using hashtags either on Twitter or in a face-to-face conversation. Yes, people use the word “hashtag” in real life, and it makes others want to punch a hole in the wall—more on that later. Check out the list below for the five worst types of hashtag abusers.
1) The Full Sentence Hashtagger
A lot of people use hashtags for comedic reasons or to add some spark to their tweets, but little do they know, hashtags don’t work like that. The whole point of hashtags is to track trending topics, but some people use tags like, #MyNameIsBobbyAndILoveTacos, and there’s a 99.9% chance that not a single person in the Twittersphere will use the same tag. Bobby would be better off just tagging #ILoveTacos, or even just #Tacos. The only time it’s acceptable to use long and unique hashtags is when companies create their own tags for promotions or contests.
2) The Hashtag Stacker
The hashtag stackers are probably the most infamous (and annoying) type of hashtag abuser. They’re the ones who, for some strange reason, choose to add a ridiculous amount of similar hashtags to their tweets or photos. They tweet pics and then proceed to add as many tags as they can fit in 140 characters or less. Here’s a visual:
[Insert cute cat photo here] #cat, #cats, #cute, #cutecat, #kitten, #cutekitten, #kitty, #meow, #fuzzy, #fluffy, #furry, #fur, #fluff, #fuzz
Get my drift? That’s only 98 characters worth of hashtags, but you better believe the stackers will take full advantage of the 140-character limit.
3) The Verbal Hashtagger
Ok, I take it back, maybe the stacker isn’t the most annoying. Perhaps the verbal hashtagger takes the cake when it comes to evoking rage in others. Verbal hashtaggers are the people who use the word “hashtag” in conversation. Imagine if your friend called you and said “I’m so excited to go out on the town tonight! Hashtag party time!” Just go ahead and cancel those plans right away, and never talk to that person again. Just kidding, that’s a little harsh. But seriously, let them know they sound ridiculous.
4) The Completely Irrelevant Hashtagger
The irrelevant hashtaggers are those who may as well call themselves spammers. They identify trending topics and use them within their own tweets in order to achieve optimal reach. The only problem is, other Twitter users can see right through their methods, and they’ll quickly dismiss the tweets as spam. Not sure what we’re talking about? Lucky you! You must not be following any useless hashtaggers, but just in case you’re not sure what to look for; they’re the ones who, for example, would post a selfie with the tags, #cats, #food, #SanDiego, #JustinBieber, #MTV, #love. Seriously? None of those tags make sense—and no one likes selfies anyway.
5) The Useless Hashtagger
Okay, in all honesty, we didn’t foresee Facebook adopting the use of hashtags, which they recently did. HOWEVER, before the site implemented this tool, users were adding hashtags to their Facebook posts, which was completely and utterly useless. It was unfortunate, because only Twitter and Instagram users were aware of this blatant misuse, and they’re the ones who would scroll through their news feed and internally scream, “Hashtags don’t work on Facebook!!!!!” Useless hashtaggers are still alive and well, and they often operate by adding tags to emails, text messages, blogs, and any other tech medium where hashtags have no merit.
Well, there you have it. Hashtag abusers run rampant on Twitter, and unfortunately their habits can sometimes even manifest in real-life conversations. The best ways to avoid hashtag misuse is to a) avoid, at all costs, becoming a hashtag abuser yourself, and b) drop some knowledge on your friends (albeit politely) and let them know that they’re abusing a valuable social media tool. Good luck!
Allison Cruz is a blogger from Jacksonville, FL. She specializes in writing about Internet best practices and how to avoid abusing social tools.