Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Hashtag Offenses and How to Fix Them

Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake's illustration of the infamous Hashtag will leave you laughing until you cry. It sounds ridiculous, but it's exactly how people behave - well, maybe not exactly but it does happen. It's the world we live in today, this means that we must conform to the norm and learn proper Hashtag etiquette.

Hashtagging is tool that helps increase engagement and visibility in search - that was the desired use of the Hashtag when Twitter created it. It has evolved however, to have multiple uses. We now see Hashtagged sentences for the use of humor and sarcasm.

Regardless of your preferred method of Hashtag use, there is proper etiquette that not all Tweeps use - many are recurring offenders, others are just new to the platform (for shame).

Regardless of the reason, we can help stop the madness (PR and Social Media pros everywhere cringe at the following Hashtag offenses).

Offender - The Serial Hashtagger

This person is known to Hashtag every word, or every other word, either within the post or has a series or hashtagged words following the message.

#weddings #fallweddings#weddingplanning #tentwedding #winnipeg#winnipegwedding


A tweet should only contain one topic (that's all the 140 characters will allow) therefore only one or two relevant Hashtags. That is, of course, if you use it as a search mechanic. For comedic purposes, you shouldn't need more than one, and this is more often a series of words - and this gets me to my second offense.

Offender - Run-On Hashtag

The Run-On Hashtag happens when someone uses more than one word, or a sentence, in a Hashtag. You'll notice that without capitalizing the first letter of every word, it is more difficult to read, thus taking away from your message.

Fix It

Don't be lazy, Capitalize Every Word - it will get your point across immediately.

Offender - The Grammatically Correct Hashtagger

On that note, Hashtags don't recognize proper grammar, including apostrophes, dashes, semi-colons, colons, etc. I know it's painful, but the Hashtag won't highlight the sentence, making your effort irrelevant in the Twittersphere.

Fix It

I know that you can hear your English teacher's red pen squeaking and the sound is like nails on a chalkboard. However, everything that you learned in grammar class does not apply on any platform. Whether or not that will cause us to forget how to form proper sentences, or use the correct punctuation in other writing projects, has not been determined. (at least not by me)


Am I missing any?

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