Thursday, November 26, 2015

Fakin' it in a tweetin' world

Tweet! Get it?!
Yes, I am one of those people who writes silly hashtags on my Facebook posts from time to time.  Another attempt to be witty and get a like or a virtual chuckle.  I really should consult a professional about this perpetual need for approval. 

But I was wondering what happens to all those fake hashtags I add as an afterthought to some posts. So I signed up with Twitter. For the sole purpose of investigating my hashtags.

This is monumental if you know that I swore I would never have a Twitter account.  Something about not wasting all my time on the Internet.  Yeah, that one worked out well.  And my mom actually had a Twitter account before me.  I know!

So there I am, eager to see my hashtags in the Twittersphere and...silence.  Virtual crickets chirping. 

A newsflash that will come as a surprise to no one except me- if you don't link Facebook and Twitter and make your posts public, your hashtag will fall silently in that deep forest that is in the Internet.

But I wouldn't let it go.  I was still curious if other people had used some of my "fake" hashtags.  So I searched for some of my more recent ones like: #toomanyfairytales or #shesgotapoint and #childlogic. And, bingo, a string of unrelated posts (not mine) of people saying these very same things.  Different situations but the same hashtag. 

And I felt an immediate kinship with these people.  Ok, we're not going out for coffee or anything, but I got a kick out of the fact that there are other people who were having some funny or frustrating moment in their lives and categorized it with the same feeling or phrase as me. 

And I got to thinking that Twitter, with its limited number of characters, is a bit like our modern day haiku.  And I'm not the only one who thinks so. Forcing us to condense ideas in a small space, adding a tag to label that moment.  To capture the essence.

So the take-home message is, there is no such thing as a fake hashtag.  Because we are the authors of the Internet and we are making this up as we go along. 

Recently there have been some funny and powerful uses of hashtags.  No doubt you've heard of the Muslim backlash against ISIS or Al Qaeda with #notinmyname. But there was also a slew of humorous cat tweets in the  #Brusselslockdown situation last weekend where Belgians posted cat pics instead of giving away information on police or military searches. 

Not to mention #MuslimID recently from Muslims posting their military, hospital or police badges in response to Donal Trump's suggestion that all Muslims have an ID or closer surveillance.  Or the husband who honored his deceased wife with #100lovenotes and inspired others to express their feelings to their loved ones.

Frankly, I love the idea that one person can come up with an idea and it can set fire to the Internet and spread a message so quickly.  So with all the ugliness in this world and all the futile stuff we can find on the Net, sometimes a little tag can go along way.  Will Twitter and hashtags last forever? #onlytimewilltell


Holly Hollyson said...

Great post! I loved hearing about the cat posts in Brussels, it makes you wonder who started it and then you realise that, with the internet, it only takes one person.

Jenenz said...

I love hashtags because you can make them up for whatever you need them for. Twitter has been my way to find current information. #HashtagsForAll.