On this boring Sunday evening, I sit here and I’m watching the American Music Awards. Bruno Mars’ performance was amazing so I quickly tweeted about it and without a thought I added the #AMAs and hit send. I then started thinking about what to write this blog post about and I realized how simple the hashtag is but how it has completely changed the way I and probably millions of other people think.
I didn’t even think about adding that hashtag. I just knew I needed it so that people knew that I was talking about the awards show that I’m watching. Sometimes I even say “hashtag” out loud, just in my everyday conversation. Isn’t that crazy? An article on Huffington Post states “Tagging our thoughts — usually bits of brainpower already whittled down to a few sentences on Twitter — allows us to organize them, both online and in real life, in a new way.” Which is so true. I can think in “hashtag.” My friends and I also use them in text even though we can’t click on it and find a thread of other posts behind it. But is that a bad thing? That same article argues that the hashtag streamlines conversation and basically takes away from what it’s supposed to be.
I think that’s wrong. I think hashtags open up a conversation. That’s why they were invented anyways. It still works. If anything, a hashtag has created a hilarious conversation and allows a lot of people to express themselves more. “In fact, a number of linguists see Twitter’s fast-paced environment as a microcosm where they can study language trends that often parallel language trends offline (How #Hashtags Changed the Way we Talk).” Linguists are saying when a person hears “hashtag happy”, not only are they expressing a feeling but the receiver of that message is turning it into a visual image. This doesn’t seem to be something that is ruining the English language.
Here’s the thing: we’re not using phrases like this in job interviews or while talking to the big bosses. It’s just something that happens and others shouldn’t look down on it because it is. It’s not going to stop and we all know it’s just going to evolve into something bigger and better and that’s great. Just because the way we talk is changing it doesn’t mean that our generation is stunted.