I’m not a grammar nazi, nor am I opposed to new words or new ways to use them, but I do wonder at this.
The hash sign was, is, used on social media so that people in the vastness of the cyber sphere can quickly share ideas and thoughts. If you want to draw attention to something put a hash sign in front of a word and the computer will link your post to any other similar word. A simple #blog will link all the posts that contain the same tag so that people looking for a blog to read don’t have to read 50 million irrelevant posts before they find one about a blog.
It has developed into campaign tags and almost anything can be made accessible in this way.
It now seems that people are using the word ‘hashtag’ when speaking to express themselves. This does not make sense to me. Using the word ‘hashtag’ in speech is not the same as putting one in front of something that can be accessed by computer software. It doesn’t link together thousands of other people using the same words. My first thought on hearing this development was it is simply another form of expletive. No different to ‘bloody’, ‘sodding’ or that ‘f’ word every parent tells their kids off for using even though they probably use it themselves and the kids use it all the time in the school playground.
You don’t believe me? An example. A kid comes out of school, annoyed because a teacher has done something the child thinks is unfair. Moaning to his friends the kid says, “Hashtag teacher, wait till I tell my dad.”
How is that different to him saying “Fucking teacher, wait till I tell my dad.” ?
And how soon will it be before saying ‘hashtag’ becomes offensive? Before the bullies start chanting “Hashtag idiot” at their victims?
There are many new words added to the dictionary every year. Most are innocuous, many forgotten within a generation or so. Being added to the OED gives them a certain status of acceptability. I have no problem with the word Hashtag being added as a word to describe the hash sign being linked to a word or phrase to attract attention on social media. Being used as an expletive, a sentence filler, I’m not so sure about.
This information came to me second hand. If it’s not 100% correct all I can say of my informant is a ‘hashtag stupidsod.’