See this punctuation mark? #. For the longest time, I called it "Number."
Now here's a newer monicker with yet another usage: "Hashtag."
I don't do Twitter so I missed Hashtag's birth. But on FB, which I do daily, I began noticing the "Number" or "Pound" or now "Hashtag" appear in a number of messages, especially photo captions.
For instance, a young friend posted a photo with his family. Before the photo were these gobbledygook:
#Happiness #Family #Rare Occasion #Great Place
Another one posted a photo with:
#Loving you #ROFL #TGIF #See you soon
Duh. Am I missing something revolutionary here?
I asked a tech-savvy young friend, whose opinions I respect and who is grace personified, what the # was doing in those confusing FB messages. She explained:
"This mark is called 'Hashtag' and it is being wrongly [her word was 'ignorantly,' unusual from the mouth of a gracious girl] used on FB. A Hashtag is used in Twitter as a way for people to search for tweets that have a common topic and to begin a conversation. For example, if you search on #American Idol, you'll get a list of tweets related to the TV show. What you won't get are tweets that say 'You are my idol' because 'idol' is not preceded by the Hashtag."
She added, "Some people boldly use things they know nothing about, thinking it is cool, but they are simply baring their ignorance (that word again!). Then others, who are just as clueless, follow suit. That's why FB has so many of them. The confusion gets more confusing."
I thought to myself, I don't need to worry about ever using it then—in the manner that it is used on Twitter.
From that conversation, however, my curiosity was piqued. I googled # and found out more about it: Hashtag was created organically by Twitter users as a way to categorize messages.
Hmmm, maybe it's not a good idea to use it in my blogsite even if I am able to classify my posts.
At this age, I can take being branded as techno-challenged, but . . . uh . . . ignorant? Ouch.