I’ve generally been amongst the first of most of my friends to adopt social media platforms.

I’d been on MySpace back in the day (I probably still am, somewhere), there was a blogging platform I can’t remember that a lot if people had, I then went to LiveJournal, WordPress, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

I have, but don’t use, Snapchat.  I have Foursquare and Swarm which were once the same thing and Google+.  There’s LinkedIn for my “professional” needs and I decided to jump on the Ello bandwagon early to reserve a username, but that particular platform doesn’t seem to be getting anywhere quickly, other than sending me random notifications every now and again.

Over the years, my usage of each has peaked and troughed, mainly depending on who and what I want to keep in touch with.  Indeed, how to find interesting content was one of the first things I didn’t entirely get on Twitter.

It was 10 years ago to the day that Twitter user Chris Messina suggested grouping Tweets using a pound sign.

Quite why it would become known as hash rather than a pound is strange for me with it being particularly English English rather than American English, but from the most used hashtag of 2007 (#noticias, the Spanish word for news, with 9000 tweets), hashtags are now common place with 125 million tweeted everyday.  They’ve even moved from the Twitter stable to Facebook’s domain and, indeed, sometimes in to every day spoken conversation.

However, to an extent, I often wondered about their usefulness.  Twitter’s search functionality picks up words in tweets without a hashtag, so using one with a normal word seems unecessary.

The most used hashtag of 2017 so far is #BTSBBMAS,  which refers to K-Pop band BTS and their victory at this year’s Billboard Music Awards.  You kind of have to know that it’s being used before using it, especially because the “BB” in the middle of it (for me) is wrong with “Billboard” being one word, not two.

If you have to search for something you have to search for, is it really useful?

I generally use hastags to try to add something witty or obiter to my main point, which probably ruins them slightly for people who try to use them properly.

A bit like Twitter itself, though, the hashtag is a something incredibly simple that has become bigger than it really should.  Can you imagine pitching the idea for Twitter?

“We’re gonna launch a service where people can send 140 character messages to each other on the internet.”


For me the hashtag is something that shouldn’t be as culturally relevant as it is.  It should fit in the bracket of the dab or use of the word “sick” as an opposite to its meaning of only a few years ago.  I have a feeling, though, that the hashtag is going to be celebrating many more birthdays to come.

Hit the town in the cold of the night
Looking ’round for the warmth of the light
There was fog on the road
So I guess no one saw me arriving

I was tired and awake for some time
Then my lights hit a welcoming sign
It said if you’re alone
You can make this your home
If you want to

Searching, searching
(For so long)
Searching, searching
(I just wanted to dance)

Stepped outta the night
It was brighter inside
Someone come and asked me my name
Taken back by surprise
When I saw with my eyes
A girl in a love’s disguise

She said stop, stop, stop
Get out your heart
What I’ve got’s hot stuff
The night is ours

Coffee glass that had fell from my hand
Like a child couldn’t quite understand
What was I doin’ there
Far away from nowhere, on my own

I was tired and awake for some time
Just the light playing tricks with my mind
Was she there in a crowd
Was the music too loud, was I dreaming

Searching, searching
(For so long)
(I don’t want romance
I just want my chance, searching)

Searching by Luther Vandross

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