There was a time when stringing all your words together made you look ignorant, stupid, or insane. Now it makes you look #tech #savvy.
When the Tech Curmudgeon was young, there was a period where people supposedly “in the know” were claiming that, in German, you could make any word you wanted just by stringing other words together in an endless line of barely pronounceable syllables. Reality was somewhat different, in that yes, you could kinda-sorta-maybe do that every once in a while under special circumstances and if you didn’t know what the hell you were doing and didn’t mind fucking around with someone else’s language as a joke. Basically, yes, it was possible, but it made you sound like an ignorant prick, not a fluent speaker of German – fluent speakers of German didn’t need to fuck around like this to make themselves understood.
These days, however, stringing an endless line of barely pronounceable syllables doesn’t just make you sound like an ignorant prick, it also makes you sound tech and comm savvy. After all, that’s essentially what hashtags are.
Twitter may be about as useful in rational communication as a blaster is useful to a Stormtrooper (the Tech Curmudgeon would have said “screen door on a submarine,” but too few Twits would get the reference), but even the Tech Curmudgeon will admit that it works fine as a PR tool. Hell, the Tech Curmudgeon even uses it himself from time to time. But a quick scan of the presently “trending” hashtags as well as some from the Tech Curmudgeon’s own feed turns up #NewU2Song, #NoFastTrack, #NSF, #SuperBowl, #commisaid, #WhosGonnaWin, #wvchemleak, #colormemango, and #rjidownhome. Some of these are pretty self-explanatory, but WTF (excuse the Tech Curmudgeon, #WTF) is colormemango?
And the Tech Curmudgeon has seen others cross through his feed over the years that, if you aren’t in some tiny clique of super-ultra-cool-and-awesome people, you’ll never understand (#p2? #ABBA?). Which means that all these stupid #hashtags are doing is creating more ways for groups of people to pretend that they have the TruthTM and that everyone else is wrong. Even when Twits aren’t siloing themselves off into groupthink-filled echo chambers, #hashtags still separate the Twitterverse into links they might be interested in and links they might be interested in but won’t look at because they’re tagged wrong.
The Tech Curmudgeon understands that people are busy and don’t want to waste time reading crap they don’t care about. He understands that we all have our own ways to separate the wheat from the chaff (make that #wheatfromchaff), and that hashtags are a convenient way to do that. But there are other ways to do it than to clutter up poorly constructed sentences with #stupid #fucking #pound #signs – slow down for a minute and write an actual descriptive sentence instead. #Journalists have been coming up with #snappy ways to write #headlines that grabbed attention (aka #eyeballs) for a few centuries now, so I feel confident that #Twits can learn how to do the same.
Of course, there’s another solution to the “@I don’t have #time to #read all my #hashtag filtered #tweets!” problem that will probably free up all kinds of time – sign off #Twitter. You’ll be amazed how much #moretime you have and how much lower your #stresslevel will be.
Categories: Internet/Telecom/Social Media