In Defense Of Hashtags

Even snobs and technophobes should accept the hashtag.

All but the most naturally social-network inclined express at least a mild pang of self-conscious shame when they use a #hashtag in a Facebook post, or, worse, a book or article. But no other symbol has invaded our written language quite so quickly in recent memory.


I am part of a familiarly curmudgeonly group of people. You all know at least one member of this group (I have a friend who insists on reading "#" as "pound"). We hate Twitter, mistrust Kindles, bristle at the very idea of skateboards, and generally pretend to disdain the things we don't understand.

We want you to get off our lawn.

That is why it is so hard for me to admit this: Hashtags are kind of great. 

So how can I support the use of #hashtags and still be a self-respecting Luddite snob?

#Rationalization! See, I have decided to treat hashtags as a sort of punctuation, like any other. And once you do that, you can see that having a shorthand, symbolic way to indicate the general concept to which a particular statement relates is pretty damn useful. 

Just as a semicolon (of which punctuation I am an ardent defender, contra Kurt Vonnegut, Cormac McCarthy, et al.) records a conceptual relatedness between two sentences or clauses, a hashtag can tell a reader what big idea justifies or grounds an utterance. #addedclarityinwrittencommunication

So, curmudgeons, snobs, Luddites, pedants join me! Stop turning up your nose at the hashtag. #getoveritalready

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

10 books to check out from Jordan Peterson's 'Great Books' list

The Canadian professor has an extensive collection posted on his site.

Jordan Peterson with Carl Jung and the cover art of Jaak Panksepp's 'Affective Neuroscience' (Image: Chris Williamson/Getty Images/Big Think)
Personal Growth
  • Peterson's Great Books list features classics by Orwell, Jung, Huxley, and Dostoevsky.
  • Categories include literature, neuroscience, religion, and systems analysis.
  • Having recently left Patreon for "freedom of speech" reasons, Peterson is taking direct donations through Paypal (and Bitcoin).
Keep reading Show less

Scientists claim the Bible is written in code that predicts future events

The controversy around the Torah codes gets a new life.

Michael Drosnin
Surprising Science
  • Mathematicians claim to see a predictive pattern in the ancient Torah texts.
  • The code is revealed by a method found with special computer software.
  • Some events described by reading the code took place after the code was written.
Keep reading Show less

Should you invest in China's stock market? Know this one thing first.

Despite incredible economic growth, it is not necessarily an investor's paradise.

Videos
  • China's stock market is just 27 years old. It's economy has grown 30x over that time.
  • Imagine if you had invested early and gotten in on the ground floor.
  • Actually, you would have lost money. Here's how that's possible.