If you haven't noticed, hashtags are everywhere. Nowadays, they’re almost unavoidable. What began as a means of sorting out what's being tweeted at the moment on Twitter has now grown into something more, becoming punchlines on Facebook statuses, network updates and even for usage on daily news. But is this just a trend or will hashtag messages progress into something more meaningful?
In a pre-Facebook age not too long ago, the only social networks available were MySpace and Black Planet. These were our resources for updated information, and gossip within the world, hold CNN and FOX. Through pictures and status updates, the public even had access to some of the most intimate moments of people’s lives. Since then, the internet and technology has advanced to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, even Instagram.
The one thing that has stayed consistent over the years is the ability to update one's "status" and share it with the online community. However they have re-vamped everything since then. With one click on a single hyperlink (whatever is "trending"), we now have access to millions of people’s thoughts and opinions on the same subject.
According to Spelman College junior Crystal Jackson, hashtags are even used as a means of contact for some companies and organizations.
“They definitely have a potential to be a growing technology because they’re everywhere,” Jackson said. “Lots of companies have put their hashtag somewhere on their products so that consumers can contact and feel ‘connected’ to them.”
Just this once, the questions is not "to be or not to be" but "will they stay?" (Although, in its own sense, that is a more simplistic form of Hamlet's famous self pop quiz.) Are hashtags just a temporary obession?
Social networks have a habit of eventually dying out in popularity and significance. It goes well with the idea of “out with the old, in with the new.” If Twitter were to become unpopular, would hashtags fade to black as well?
Jackson thinks that as long as Twitter continues to grow stronger, hashtags will remain and may even become something more independent.
“I think the main reason for companies jumping on the hashtag is because of its popularity on Twitter,” Jackson said. “Its independence depends on how long Twitter is trending.”
However, there are some that think hashtags will trend until they slowly discontinue. The popularity will fade away and something bigger and better will take its place in the headlines of news articles or on the bottom corner of your television screen during series finales, a la House or Desperate Housewives.
Shepherd University sophomore Elisa Orlandi takes this stance. She thinks that although hashtags were “hot” at the peak of Twitter’s popularity, they are slowly becoming obsolete.
“It’s only a trend,” Orlandi said. “It’s already starting to slow down from what it used to be and I don’t think it’s going to last very long.”
What do you think? Trends come and go, but very few things nowadays are timeless. Will hashtags weather over time?
Signing off… #CollegeMagazine