Watching Hashtags Grow Up

I was homeschooled alongside my younger brother by our very loving mother. She taught us how to see the world through a different lens and how to sleep past 11am, just because we could. My mom would spend hours the night before teaching herself the material to make sure we got the best possible education. We would go to the basement to find our school room transformed to Ancient Greece; we would sit on pillows and eat dates and figs and learn about the culture of a new world. Our schooling involved a lot of food. We travelled the world in our basement schoolhouse, but somehow we never made it to the continent of Grammar.

Sure, we would diagram sentences and find each little part of speech, but my mom was just as confused as I was about what the heck a preposition was and where it went. I entered a college-prep private high school knowing nothing of grammar. I was terrified of MadLibs, the psycho game that makes fun out of grammar. It was never fun when kids would exclaim, “You don’t know what an adjective is?!”  Grammar seemed foreign and like something everyone understood but me.

popular meme with improper grammar? there isn't anyone who has time for that

Enter me becoming an English major. When I would tell people about my major they would immediately say, “Oh, so you’re a Grammar Nazi?” of course I played the humble card and denied it, but I knew one day in my college career I’d have to come face to face with grammar. I waited until my senior year to take Grammar & Linguistics and I couldn’t have made a better choice. Times have changed since elementary school and now aspects of social media are considered grammar. Hashtags are something that College Senior Indy is very good at.

I’ve been using hashtags since they popped up in social media. Hashtags are crucial for social involvement, brand recognition, or initiating a break up. This article is about a teen that used hashtags on an Instagram post to let his girlfriend know they were breaking up. Since then, #transformationtuesday can be used to show your new relationship status as well as your weight loss transformation.
Hashtags can get you free stuff. For instance, this past summer I was staying at a nice hotel near the airport before my early flight. The room was disgusting and had many issues. I tweeted the photo and added the hotel name in a hashtag and eventually the hotel direct messaged me and my room was comped.

Hashtags provide up to date information about major events taking place around the world. During the Paris attacks in 2015 I remember scrolling through #prayforparis and getting new information through that venue rather than televised news because it’s so much faster.  Imagine how different the catastrophic events of 9/11 would have been if we used hashtags? Social movements, worldwide tragedies, and Presidential election updates are all revolutionized through hashtags.

person forming a hashtag symbol with his index and middle finger of both hands

t-shirt with hashtags nobody cares about your hashtags
Hashtags evolved from just social media. The new-medium punctuation form has seeped into fashion, texting, and real-life hand gestures. They are invading all different kinds of media, from social media to television to brand management classes. Life from here on out is going to be surrounded by hashtags. You can either be a cynic, like my dad, and refuse to cooperate in the function of the “new pound sign” or you can get on board and find new information, get free stuff, and stay plugged in.

A new part of punctuation has developed and pervaded our world. It isn’t particular to just one language, or any one education level. Every person, rich or poor, man or woman, can use a hashtag correctly. There is no specific handbook of rules for hashtag uses, the scary people on the internet won’t jump down your throat about a misuse like they would for other grammar mistakes. The best thing about social media grammar is that it’s still growing up. I get to grow up during the creation of a budding grammar empire that will change the face of the world as we know it. As of right now, in 2016, I can make up my own rules to social media grammar. I don’t have to feel dumb during MadLibs anymore because I can use hashtags. I am a part of a social media revolution that is changing the rules to education, human connection, and simply life as we know it.

In what ways do you guys use hashtags? Comment below and tell me how your experience with hashtags has been!