The Rant: Why Hashtags Must Die

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I’m not averse to shorthand. There’s no point going through the motions of explaining your rationale for being so angry with someone when a simple ‘Fuck you’ will do.

And language is an evolving beast, subject to sense and sensibilities. My ‘fuck you’ may be the most offensive words you can think of. But fuck you, if so.

When it comes to language, it’s different strokes for different folks.

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Meanwhile, the digital age has brought in a whole new array of ways for some to express themselves, using less of the standard alphabet than they have time to type. Those busy bees!

This is where the hashtag comes in. Once a forlorn outpost of the standard keyboard, now the hashtag is in its digital heyday.

Granted, there is sound logic in grouping thematically similar notes with a standard tag so that they can be gathered together. I get that.

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How else would we know what internet trolls scratching their arses in dank basements think of the woman who campaigned to put Jane Austen on a ten-pound note?

That there is democracy in action, people.

Nevertheless, the whole hashtag thing has #gottencompletelyoutofhand.

That was fairly pointless, wasn't it? I could have just said: ‘The whole thing has gotten completely out of hand’.

There it is in plain, old sensible black and white, proper spacing and everything.

I know it’s not the zeitgeist. I know Justin Bieber wouldn't get it.

But there’s something quite nice about a full sentence. That, and the fact it makes sense. And that Justin Bieber wouldn't get it.

Now before you get all ‘LOL at the Luddite’ on my ass, I’m not here to urinate on the digital revolution. I love that shizz! Pinterest is a beautiful thing. The Unfollow button on Facebook a deeply satisfying tool. I understand too that 140 characters demands brevity.

But there is a problem brewing and it is the curse of the innumerable hashtags.

Log on to Facebook (not on work time, please) and take a look at all those identikit images of the sky people ping up from Instagram.

Not content with photographing something that we can all just crane our necks to look at, these people then annotate the exact same post with the following:

#greatbritishsummer #blueskies #sunset #LoveLondon #lovin’Life #nofilter #notthatanyonegivesashit #hashtag

This, my friends, is the equivalent of a drunken child running around slapping anyone and anything with big fat stickers.

It is like writing this article! With a whole load of exclamation marks! lobbed in! Totally indiscriminately!

That’s a pretty annoying sentence to read, isn't it? Just because it’s on a social media site does not make it less annoying to read.

Besides, if you hashtag everything, you’re just swimming in a sea of symbols. Look at Prince’s career and see how it fared when he ditched the English language in favour of squiggles (answer: not so great).

The other over arching problem is that if The People insist on over tagging everything then everything will be tagged to everything and nothing will make any sense.

We may as well just tag every bit of news of the day to every other bit like '@KatyPerry OMG LUV HER BIG GOLD TRUCK #BradleyManningfoundguilty' and be done with it.

I’m no Tim Berners-Lee but I suspect that might defeat the purpose of a simple filtering tool?

And if that happens, you may as well close down Twitter and then what will all those rapey trolls do? Those guys need something to type the pain away.

So please, if you insist on the abbreviation, can you use it sparingly? Otherwise, we’ll have to take it away from you altogether my drunk-on-digital butterflies.

Otherwise, #fuckyou.


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