Twitter just began rolling out a new search infrastructure that will allow anyone to search every tweet ever published publicly. Picture: Moeletsi Mabe
Twitter just began rolling out a new search infrastructure that will allow anyone to search every tweet ever published publicly. Picture: Moeletsi Mabe

#stop with the stupid hashtags

By Victoria Woollaston Time of article published Jul 20, 2013

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New York Magazine has identified seven unique types of people who use hashtags on Twitter, Facebook and in real life.

The types range from Hashtag Stuffers who use multiple tags in every post, to Hash Swaggers who only use them to brag, and Hashtag Stringers that combine numerous words together to create long tags.

Hashtags are used on social networks, as well as apps such as Vine and Instagram, as a way of discovering new content but journalist Jeff Wilser believes that they are being abused.

Wilser writes that hashtags are useful for promoting charitable or worthy causes, such as the one used for World Aid’s Day in December (#WAD2012). They can also be used for memes such as #FirstWorldProblems.

However, he claims in the tongue-in-cheek blog that they have become overused and this has led to “hashtag abuse”.

To highlight the problem he has identified seven types of hashtag abusers.

The Hashtag Stuffer is the most common form of hashtag abuse, according to Wilser.

He writes: “The Stuffer is incapable of simply sharing a photo of his July Fourth fireworks; he festoons it with #firework #fireworks #july4th #July4 #pretty #boom! #red #white #blue.”

He adds that sometimes Hashtag Stuffers will even add tags into random words within the post.

Wilser claims that Hashtag Stuffers can’t grasp the idea of the hashtag, or they are using a “misguided attempt” to amplify their audience.

Wilser’s Verbal Hashtaggers are the kind of people who use the word “hashtag” in day-to-day conversations.

People who string multiple words together to form an extra long hashtag have been labelled as Hashtag Stringers.

Wilser claims that although this is “sort of fun and clever” the novelty has worn off.

The Gratuitous Event Hashtaggers include people who go to events and then overuse the hashtag assigned to it.

An example given by Wilser said: “Take my friend Jane, a film producer, who celebrated a friend’s birthday on a party bus that included a disco light and stripper pole.

“After a round of champagne, the organiser shushed the crowd to say, “The hashtag for today will be #Happy30SarahWonderland.”

“Someone asked, ‘Wait, is that ‘30’, or ‘thirty’ spelled out?”

Similarly, Hash Swaggers use event hashtags to brag about being at high-class or prestigious events.

Wilser adds that these are also known as Humblebrag-tags, or #HumbleTag.

Hack-taggers are social network users that ambush the hashtags being used by companies, brands and politicians to protest.

In December Starbucks asked people on Twitter to use the #spreadthecheer hashtag and have their messages displayed on a public screen.

People began posting abusive messages using this hashtag. One of the milder ones said: “I like buying coffee that tastes nice from a shop that pays tax. So I avoid @starbucks #spreadthecheer.”

This was a response to Starbucks not paying the correct level of tax in the UK last year.

And finally, people who use hashtags as a “crutch” are Crutch Hashtaggers. Wilser said that this was the most subtle and “most sneakily damaging abuse of hashtags” and includes people who use them constantly, across multiple platforms, in a bid to be witty or clarify the tone of a post. – Daily Mail

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