I am no stranger to social media #almostexpert. I am on Instagram and Snapchat, used to be on Facebook more, and Ive tried my hand at Twitter. Im on Instagram a lot. I know whats cool thanks only to my time (hours, minutes, it doesnt matter) spent looking at posts and photos. So believe me when I say its very rare to come across a post that doesnt include a hashtag.
Whats a hashtag? Its this symbol: #. Formerly recognized as the pound symbol; millennials and younger ones are mixing things up. Its used in social media to emphasize a point, categorize photos, be funny, or attempt to be cool. Ive used hashtags for all of the above. For photos of one of my kids when they were little, I tagged each photo with #chroniclesoftheperfectbaby. If I search that hashtag, every photo I posted with it will appear, and its a nice walk through memory lane.
Hashtags are also something I love to hate. Everyone knows at least a handful of people on their Instagram feed who use so many hashtags its ridiculous. Heres an example: A photo of a plate of dinner that includes carrots, tilapia, risotto and brussels sprouts. Okay, so I dont mind food photos (lots of people hate them, but I love a nicely styled food shot), but when that photo is tagged with the following, its just not delicious anymore: #food #eat #brussels #fish #eatfresh #healthy #fit #risotto #carrots #rabbitfood #dinner #food #homecooked.
If you think thats an exaggeration, spend more time on Instagram. Or maybe dont. I am not immune to the hashtag craze, so dont think Im sitting on my high horse. Ive been known to make hashtag jokes that fail miserably. I have used hashtags like #food when posting a picture of food (duh, its food, it doesnt need to be labeled as such). Ive made many hashtag faux pas, but its cool. Here are some hashtags I love to hate:
#FITMOM: This is used by moms wearing workout clothing, moms posting pictures of themselves working out, moms posting pictures of any type of dietary supplement. Why do I love to hate it? Because its a shameless brag. The person using this hashtag only wants people to see that they are healthy. Wed know that without the obvious hashtag. Thats like wearing a button that says Im Pretty. My favorite, though, is when #fitmom is used on a photo of a product or plate of food that isnt healthy at all. I love to hate those. Or maybe Im just jealous.
#BLESSED: There are two reasons to use this hashtag and only one is acceptable. (1) You feel thankful and blessed for something that money cant buy or for a feeling of happiness or comfort you get from something you really enjoy or love. (2) You just received or bought something super awesome (usually expensive) and you wanna show it off but still act like youre humble. New baby, new puppy, healthy children, healthy family, quality time? #blessed it is. New Louis Vuitton purse from your boyfriend for your birthday, surprise trip to Hawaii, upgraded wedding ring? Use #lucky or #shamelessbrag instead.
#WHOLESENTENCEHASHTAGSTHATWILLNEVERBEUSEDAGAIN: The point of hashtags is to search and see what others have posted using the same one, or view pictures youve posted in the past with that tag. Pretend theres a picture of a new pair of Nikes. This hashtag is annoying: #theydidnthavebluesoiwentwithred. Just write the sentence (and also no one cares).
#BREAKING#UP#SENTENCES#WITH#HASHTAGS: No. Just no.
#CAPTIONING photos with hashtags that have no relevance to the photo: A photo of a cute puppy might have #dogsofinstagram and I support that. What dont I support? #workhardplayhard. That makes no sense. #healthyliving. NO. That tells me that you just want people who are randomly searching tags to see your picture and like it. Lame.
#GIRLBOSS: This might be the feminist in me, but isnt a girl boss just a regular boss? If youre a female and youre working hard, you can put #BOSS and that will suffice.
Dont think I dont like hashtags. I love them. I love to love them, and I love to hate them so keep them coming. If youre getting married, come up with an amazing hashtag. Have kids? They should really all have their own. Use hashtags for causes like #protecttranskids and #blacklivesmatter or whatever youre passionate about. And, I guess if youre passionate about being a #fitmom, go for it.