Hashtag Culture: Will this Ubiquitous Symbol Be Around in Pop Culture Forever?

January 7, 2014

     No matter what kind of world you think we're living in, it's not all that outrageous to at least say we're living in a hashtag culture. It's amazing that just a decade ago, that would have received a quizzical look had someone from the future visited and used it casually. While the hashtag symbol was certainly known visually, not everyone called it by that term. Most people just called it the pound sign in the era where it was mostly used on our phones.

     Even in Twitter's earliest days right after 2006, the hashtag was still an obscure concept. You probably remember seeing notable people joining Twitter within that time frame and drolly asking what in living heck a hashtag was.

     How far we've come since then, and proves that anything obscure in the beginning can eventually become ubiquitous in our world. But what's the real future of the hashtag? Now that we're seeing it everywhere lately for use in business and in comedy routines, will it become a term that wears out its welcome before the end of the decade?

 

The Demographics Behind the Hashtag

 

     As hip as hashtags are, some people think that it's being used far beyond the teen demographic. Some blogs have reflected how older adults are now using hashtags on social media to help find information on shopping or other serious-minded subjects. That perhaps started when Facebook acquired the hashtag after realizing how valuable they could be in being found or promoting a business.

     No matter how much the younger demographic may be using hashtags, businesses aren't showing any bias toward any particular demographic. When they use hashtags on their products and in advertising, they use terms that just about any age can relate to. It helps start discussions on social media to help companies become household names.

     On the other hand, it's the use of certain hashtag terms that could become a problem down the line. As more and more people use hashtags through the decade, what happens when certain phrases collide within the social media spectrum?

 

The Canceling Out of Hashtag Terms

 

     There's been some analysis online about the problem of general hashtag terms and how they should be avoided by companies. On occasion, some companies have used hashtag phrases that ended up colliding with a similar term used for something negative. When these combine, it can be a social media nightmare for a company and potentially backfire.

It's one reason why overly general hashtag terms should never be used by a company. Even the more creative ones can play risk in a steadily growing and crowded hashtag universe. In that regard, it could be that the hashtag will eventually have to consolidate to mere use of corporate names rather than marketing with a hashtag phrase.

     There's also the possibility that hashtags won't last forever. Some other method may pop up in the next decade that helps companies get noticed on social media. Perhaps more sophisticated use of SEO elements can help determine placement on live news feeds within social media streams.

Whatever happens, hashtags are as much a part of life now as many longtime brands are. And it's current supreme method to get your own brand noticed through virtually any social media circle.

Here at Crowd Siren, we're an online media, branding, and PR company that can help you get your brand out there through the creative use of hashtags. The use of the hashtag has gone far beyond social media where it's seen in everything from commercials to placement on products.

     Contact us so we can start working with you on using online media tools that exist today before they shift to something else in a blink of an eye.

 

By: Alyssa Rao

@alyssarao

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