Hashtags are a word or phrase without spaces prefixed with a hash symbol (also known as a number or pound sign), used to tag messages, images and videos.
This internet phenomenon was popularized on Twitter, a microblogging service, and later spread to Facebook and other social media networks.
Emerging trends may be identified by monitoring the usage of hashtags, when one becomes popular enough, it is known as trending.
Justine Sacco was a public relations executive who made a tweet in late 2013 just before she left for Africa; news of her remark spread and within hours was trending worldwide.
She was before the plane landed 12 hours later.
Some of the most infamous hashtags came from Twitter accounts managed by people who's minds are not in the gutter.
The problem with that is the internet is swarming with warped minds, and they are quick to spot alternative meanings to acronyms and unintended phrases because someone failed to capitalize certain letters.
Given the nature of microblogs and social media, word travels at a ruthlessly fast pace, here are a handful of funny examples:
Businesses are a bunch of lemmings that throw money at the latest trend without really understanding why, as Facebook's popularity soared, marketing went into overdrive in an effort to get people to like and follow them on Facebook. Now history is repeating itself with Twitter, attempts are made to get people to use certain hashtags, but unlike Facebook pages, these can be hijacked by angry customers, resulting in bashtags.
An executive within McDonald's marketing department got the idea to encourage people to share theiron Twitter, failing to realize that everyone might not have nice things to say about the fast food chain. The hashtag was hijacked, a search for #McDStories generally returns stories and pictures McDonald's doesn't want their customers to see. No amount of advertising can undo the association #McDStories has with fat American children gorging themselves at the restaurant, a clear indication eating there may not be such a healthy idea.
4chan Troll pranks
Anything that becomes popular on the internet will eventually be exploited by trolls and hashtags are no exception to the rule. Successful pranks are often reposted by thousands of unsuspecting users, reported by the media that is gullible and fails to do its homework, and sometimes these creative antics will invoke a response from a well-known celebrity. This is possible due to the viral nature of microblogs and social media, where misinformation travels at the speed of a mouse click.
When Justin Bieber got caught smoking a joint, nobody was surprised, but that didn't stop trolls from pretending to be outraged, posting fake pictures of them cutting themselves in protest. Enough people believedthat Justin even got onto Twitter, begging fans not to harm themselves and stating that his lawyers were looking into the incident.
Hashtag Jamerson is the result of parents who spend their lives on Facebook and have absolutely no common sense, and yes that's the name of a baby girl. Quite possibly they hated their unborn child with a burning passionate, so much that a late termination of pregnancy wasn't sadistic enough. No, these two want the pleasure of seeing their daughter getting verbally slaughtered at school on a daily basis, at home she'll be left alone in a small room while they play Farmville. If we're fortunate, Hashtag Jamerson will set out to achieve a new high score in a decade or so.
- 4chan Troll pranks
- Hashtag Jamerson
- 4 Ways Marketers Can Use Facebook Hashtags
- The Role of #Hashtags in Social Media and Search
- The Beginner's Guide to the Hashtag
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