Do you slip the word “hashtag” in real-life conversations? (As in, “X-Y-Z, hashtag are you kidding me?”) Well, stop it. Stop it right now, says writer Eric Mack. In his CNET piece, “The spoken hashtag must die — here’s how,” he writes, “The word ‘hashtag’ simply does not translate into nondigital nomenclature.”
Maybe it shouldn’t be a surprise that the term jumped the Twitter fence and landed in everyday speech. Over time, the English language has certainly gotten butchered and ground up with texting lingo. At this point, LOL is in the dictionary, and we regularly hear people exclaiming, “OMG! WTF!” So what is it about people saying “hashtag” that seems so especially egregious? Maybe it’s because people tend to sound like Twitter-addicted tools when they use it out loud.
Even worse are the hand gestures. Creating an actual hashtag out of your fingers is really no better than making bunny ears or air quotes, people. Then there’s the suggestion to replace the word with the symbol’s pre-Twitter name: “pound.” Sure, it’s short, snappy and suits an array of expressive gestures, but ultimately it doesn’t help people sound any more clever or cool. (In fact, it does the opposite — it just makes the person sound like an outdated tool.)
Here’s a tip: If you come across a morsel so compelling, you can’t help but slap a hashtag comment on it, then go ahead… on Twitter. Just fire up your device and get it out of your system. Your friends will be grateful and excuse the momentary lapse of etiquette. Or — say — you could actually voice a fleshed-out opinion.
Have you run into this conversational quirk or, perhaps, are you guilty of it? Tell us if you think it’s just a sign of evolving human speech, or an aberration that should be squashed (er, pounded).