Freed from the constraints of the printed page (or any concept of “page”), an author can now blog a short thought that previously would have gone unwritten. The weblog’s post unit liberates the writer from word count.
Blogger Meg Hourihan made this fantastic observation in 2002, when she observed that the “native format” of blogging - i.e., structureless format of online writing, was one of its most appealing assets. This was years before the emergence of Twitter, which, as you know, specifically limits the amount of words you can post to 140 characters.
I’ve heard a litany of complaints from people who think the platforms that support short-form commentary (like Twitter and Facebook) are ruining our attention spans and depleting the richness of the stories they promote.
I don’t hear enough people praising these short-form platforms for addressing a huge limitation in writing and adding immeasurable value to the new published world just by legitimizing brevity. By decreasing the space that online writers needed to fill, these platforms created the opportunity to share a multitude of brief thoughts. (Think of how strange it would feel to take up an 8.5x11 sheet of paper with a single tweet.) They created the space and the reasoning for sharing short ideas to an expansive community.
GENUIS, PEOPLE. GENUIS.
Having a good SIP day. The positive externalities of short-form blogging platforms are BLOWING MY MIND.
I think it’s pretty silly to get upset over a hashtags used outside of Twitter. After all, Facebook is a social networking site where users update statuses with similar frequency and content as Twitter. Doesn’t it just kind of figure that there was going to be some carry-over between the two?
I think hashtags are a reflection of our culture. They are part of the vernacular of the millennial. And, I know, Ms. I’m-So-Original-I-Still-Don’t-Have-A-Twitter-Because-Social-Media-Detaches-Me-From,-Like,-Real-Life-Cultural-Eltist - you would never use a hashtag. We’re all proud of you. And we’re aware that social media is not real life. But we are among the generation of rapid information and even faster categorization. And the way we build dialects online has just as much of an impact as the things we say in the non-virtual world. I have Facebook groups, Twitter lists, Gmail folders - I categorize everythang. The hashtag is a prime example of how eager we are to put a label on something, and also how incredibly helpful that can be. Their intended purpose is to help users locate popular topics in Twitter searches, and this penchant for categorization has led to important dialouges and even revolutions. And if I think that’s awesome, then what’s wrong with putting an imaginary label on my Facebook status? Nada, mi uppity amigo.
But, let’s be honest, do I really care about adding a category to the things I spat on on social media websites? Not really. Are my silly pound-key phrases some type of homage to the great hashtags that have come before them? Only in my dreams. I think people who use hashtags for their original purpose are awesome. And I think people who use them to make terse, snide comments are absolutely hilarious (usually). Hashtags have surpassed their original purpose and have now become a way to make a quick, fragmented remark about something. And brevity is very funny.
Because that’s the thing: it’s a joke. We’re laughing about it. And we wish you were laughing too. So it’s time to jump off the snobby train and embrace a part of your culture, millennial. You don’t have to use hashtags. You don’t have to like hashtags. But you should stop being a little bitch about ‘em.
Facebook chatting with my mom during the National Association of Drug Court Professionals conference
- Me: Anything exciting happen?
- Mom: I spoke up about problems on my list serve, was scolded by my boss, but now change is about to happen. Oh the stress!
- Me: Why were you scolded?
- Mom: For stating problems on the national level..I am the bad girl, the sacrificial lamb, the trouble maker, the big mouth...
- Mom (two minutes later): The judge next to me says I should get on Twitter...