The hashtag is perhaps one of the greatest emerging and modern phenomena of our day. It comprises the utility of compartmentalized and categorical trending topics on to a digital social medium. The function of such a utility is to orient a particular group to a particular issue often revolving around a real-time trend. The following will examine the benefits of such a utility and of course the negatives.
Prior to any real discussion on the hashtag, it may beneficial to provide exposition in its use. Its main structure is a pound sign: #, followed by phrase with no spaces for grammar: #ilovethisclass. This structure allows for a brief explanation for the subject matter to which the hashtag is attached to, for instance on a tweet by way of twitter or after an instagrammed image, it helps tie the image to the meaning an individual is trying to convey. Often this hashtag is general and other people have hashtagged something with similar content, which often leads to a link displaying all the tweets or instagrams that are hashtagged by said hashtag. It’s like a passive chat room for content already posted.
The simplicity of the hashtag is by far one of the best things going for it. In a tiny, brief and normal hashtag a user can convey much more from their tweet or image because in all honesty, users are for the most part not professional photographers or headline writers. To aid the posted content users utilize the hashtag and judging by the amount of hashtagging a particular topic gets, for instance, this class, it can become a trending issue that has pierced the public veil and becomes something to talk about on any social medium. Attributing #ilovethisclass to a tweet leads users to all the other users sharing the same sentiment. This socializing is good to create an identifiable public sentiment of the particular class in question and establishes points of discussion regarding the betterment of the class. Once that has been creating the hashtag can be modified, for instance, next semester one could use #ilovedthisclass to continue an established discussion on the topic.
The negatives of hashtagging are quite clear. There are abuses of the hashtag which are directly a result of the search for fame by individuals on social networks. The problem is if that an individual attributes more hashtags to a particular post then the odds are more people will see it. As such, they will often attach meaningless hashtags to their post and dilute and delegitimize the role of the hashtags social utility. It also clearly degrades the ability to articulate complicated subject matter regarding deep issues with something as mundane as: #boredinclass.
Hashtagging is part of our future. Its role in our society is growing at a noticeable pace and has prominent social utility. The benefits include the capacity for mass social discussion which can lead to social progress. The negatives include the capacity for misuse and degradation of the potential for the benefits of its use. Only time will tell where and how the hashtag will evolve, but it will certainly exist in our short term future.