I’ve noticed a disturbing trend of late, and I feel like I need to point it out, if only to quell the rise of this latest assault on the English language.
Somewhere along the line, in our social media saturated and obsessed society the clever use of hashtags to punctuate and accentuate what you’re really thinking has transcended the medium of Twitter. It has jumped into Facebook, then blogs, and now I’m seeing it in actual paper books.
This has got to stop!
In case you’ve been seeing this hashtag horror show and you’re not sure what’s going on, I will give you an excerpt taken from the Facebook profile of a person I don’t know all that well. This person, whose brain has apparently been taken over by Twitter, insists on punctuating almost every sentence with a clever meta-thought in the form of a hashtag, such as #myhusbandisstupid or #whathaveigottenmyselfinto or #thisisnotmyfirsttimeattherodeo
When I first saw this happening, my tech-nerd brain froze for a moment. Was that person using Twitter to post to Facebook? In case you’re wondering, this is also a pet peeve of mine—the demographics are different, and no one wants to see all of your Tweets in their Facebook feed. That couldn’t be, since everyone knows a Twitter post pulled through a syndication service and into Facebook’s interface doesn’t retain the hashtags, don’t they?
Even if you didn’t follow that last sentence, let me just explain by saying this: a hashtag (one of these #) is what you use to tag your thoughts/ Tweets to put them into categories so that other people can find you and talk to you about them. For instance, you Tweet “It is five on Friday, time for #wine,” and then hopefully some other people who are also searching for the hashtag #wine see this and start Tweeting to you about wine. You start a conversation, because that is how Twitter is supposed to work. Here is an article, in case you are curious.
Here is a whole website dedicated to what hashtags are trending at the moment, in case you should want to go over to Twitter and start having a hashtag-tagged conversation. Go ahead! It’s a nice way to meet people and talk with them about things that interest you. That’s what Twitter is for.
It is not, however, for making up weird phrases that are probably never getting searched, or for strangely meta-commenting on your life. This is a totally weird trend, and I feel like I’m trying to ignore it, but it’s not going away. In fact, the other day I saw it in an actual book, at which time I thought back to my seventh grade English teacher and wondered what she is doing now, and felt bad for her if in fact she is still teaching and has to read essays that contain these absolute travesties, these non-words that are expected to be understood as entire phrases. When did writers stop being writers who care about grammar and syntax and become stream of consciousness weirdos who feel like they have to not only share their every thought, but their thoughts ABOUT their thoughts? It’s all a little too meta for me, as well as being awful grammar and a little bit hard to read.
Does this bother anyone else, or is it just me? Should I just give in and start up a case of Twitter Tourette’s of my own? #probablynoonewillnoticethisdoesanyoneevenreadthisblog