I am no stranger to social media #almostexpert. I am on Instagram and Snapchat, used to be on Facebook more, and I’ve tried my hand at Twitter. I’m on Instagram a lot. I know what’s cool thanks only to my time (hours, minutes, it doesn’t matter) spent looking at posts and photos. So believe me when I say it’s very rare to come across a post that doesn’t include a hashtag.

What’s a hashtag? It’s this symbol: #. Formerly recognized as the pound symbol; millennials and younger ones are mixing things up. It’s used in social media to emphasize a point, categorize photos, be funny, or attempt to be cool. I’ve 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 it’s 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 it’s ridiculous. Here’s an example: A photo of a plate of dinner that includes carrots, tilapia, risotto and brussels sprouts. Okay, so I don’t 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, it’s just not delicious anymore: #food #eat #brussels #fish #eatfresh #healthy #fit #risotto #carrots #rabbitfood #dinner #food #homecooked.

If you think that’s an exaggeration, spend more time on Instagram. Or maybe don’t. I am not immune to the hashtag craze, so don’t think I’m sitting on my high horse. I’ve been known to make hashtag jokes that fail miserably. I have used hashtags like #food when posting a picture of food (duh, it’s food, it doesn’t need to be labeled as such). I’ve made many hashtag faux pas, but it’s 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 it’s a shameless brag. The person using this hashtag only wants people to see that they are healthy. We’d know that without the obvious hashtag. That’s like wearing a button that says “I’m Pretty.” My favorite, though, is when #fitmom is used on a photo of a product or plate of food that isn’t healthy at all. I love to hate those. Or maybe I’m 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 can’t 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 you’re 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 you’ve posted in the past with that tag. Pretend there’s a picture of a new pair of Nikes. This hashtag is annoying: #theydidnthavebluesoiwentwithred. Just write the sentence (and also no one cares).


#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 don’t 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 isn’t a “girl boss” just a regular boss? If you’re a female and you’re working hard, you can put #BOSS and that will suffice.

Don’t think I don’t like hashtags. I love them. I love to love them, and I love to hate them so keep them coming. If you’re 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 you’re passionate about. And, I guess if you’re passionate about being a #fitmom, go for it.

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