#hashtag #madness

By Kyla Hurt

Uploaded by The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon to YouTube on September 24, 2013, “#Hashtag” with Jimmy Fallon & Justin Timberlake (Late Night with Jimmy Fallon) made me giggle. You can check it out at this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=57dzaMaouXA, or you can simply Google this goodness.

First of all, I adore Jimmy and Justin both. They’re uber talented and brilliant, fresh entertainers – and, welp … who doesn’t love a guy who can make you laugh? (Side note: I actually met Justin Timberlake at The Cheesecake Factory in Virginia Beach. I was selected from our staff at that time to wait on Timberland, Kenna and him. He was down-to-earth and a joy. Plus, he told me, “You’re my kind of girl.” So, there’s that. I will share that tidbit shamelessly for as long as I live.)

Getting back to the skit, the hilarity of this generation’s exaggerated use of the “hashtag” in our daily lives is portrayed by Fallon and Timberlake. The duo shares an approximately two-minute conversation of what could be a series of Tweets. #IsItTwitterOrRealLife #NobodyKnows. The use of the hashtag, aka #poundsign, is lasting. The hashtag reached the realm of repeated use and such oftentimes used that it entered the June 2015 Oxford English Dictionary (OED) update. Along with the nouns hash and hash key, hashtag was now official. OED’s blog states, “Hash refers to the symbol # (technically known as the octothorp and, in North America, more often referred to as the number or pound sign), while hash key denotes the key on a keyboard or keypad which is marked with a hash. Hash probably arose as an alteration of ‘hatch,’ originally in the phrase ‘hatch mark.’ By 1961 hash was being used in computing contexts to refer to the octothorp symbol, especially in computing and telecommunications contexts. Uses of Twitter and other social media websites will, of course, be familiar with the hashtag used with the sense (which arose in 2007) ‘a word of phrase messages relating to a specific topic,’ as well as a name for the symbol itself, in this context.”

The # could be here to stay. It is used in pop culture, business, media and everyday speech. The skit came out in 2013, which seems #foreverago. Still, the video abides. I watched it again just recently and any inkling of finding the video as passé or less funny this umpteenth time around was just that … an inkling. My giggles endure, as does the hashtag. The value of using #hashtags effectively can even be of benefit, such as with searching for common specific theme or content; searching for #puppies, for example, will then bring up anything tagged #puppies (and will indubitably make you smile). The hashtag works as a type of metadata tag, or label.

#Hashtag2 with Jimmy Fallon & Jonah Hill was published on February 19, 2014. (#sequel #neverasgoodastheoriginal) Still, the presence of the hashtag remains. If you’re a glutton for punishment, please access Twitter’s help center and discover some of what you need to know about how to use hashtags correctly. My personal favorite states, “Best practices recommend using no more than 2 hashtags per Tweet.” Get a load of that, Jimmy and Justin. #cray #saywhat #sayanything

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About the author

Kyla Hurt is a capable boondoggler trained in the arts; she’s also an accomplished event coordinator with experience from museum fundraising to art festivals. She enjoys puppies, sunshine, and good radishes – and wit. Wit is good, too.

View all articles by Kyla Hurt

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