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Paul Oh
Published
Mar 16 2011

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Hashtaggery

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The once lowly # has enjoyed a renaissance as the symbol of choice - and meaning - on Twitter.

In the New Yorker article, Hash, author Susan Orlean discusses the history of the hashtag phenomenon and how hashtags have now evolved into a suitcase of rhetorical strategies on Twitter. Originally conceived as a way to categorize tweets, they are now used as asides, for snark and as meta-commentary.

Orlean concludes by saying, "Amazing how rich and complex 140 characters with a few symbols thrown in can be."

Below are a few examples of hashtag use, from my efforts at categorization, to @jonbecker's humor, to @wmchamberlain's internal monologue made public.

hashtag screenshot

hashtag screenshot

hashtag screenshot

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Comments
5
<p>reminds me of the phenomonon of flickr tag poetry, in which photos uploaded to Flickr get tagged purposefully (and often playfully) in such a way to aesthetically compliment the imagery with text. sometimes it's the poetry that gets foregrounded</p>
<p>Hi John,</p> <p>I love the idea of Flickr tag poetry—do you have any favorite examples that show the range of this kind of piece?</p>
<p>Hi Elyse,</p> <p>There's a pool for flickr poetry--those who write poetry to accompany their own images<br /><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/brightasafig/24266182/in/pool-75423096@N00/">http://www.flickr.com/photos/brightasafig/24266182/in/pool-75423096@N00/</a></p> <p>Then an example of a response in poetry from a viewer<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/kevinhoth/4390755682/"><br />http://www.flickr.com/photos/kevinhoth/4390755682/</a></p> <p>Then an example from a small pool of tag poets<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/chelseagirlphotos/1337685995/in/pool-460071@N24/"><br />http://www.flickr.com/photos/chelseagirlphotos/1337685995/in/pool-460071@N24/</a></p> <p>Thx for asking for specifics, I started to comb through my own comments and images in Flickr, having had a lot of fun commenting on and writing tag poetry. Fun to look through my Flickr history, but difficult to find good examples of what I called a "phenomenon." </p> <p>John<br />http://www.flickr.com/photos/boudhini/ </p> <p>&nbsp;</p>
<p>Love this concept, too, John. We should talk - perhaps you could work up a Digital Is resource on the phenomenon.</p>
<p>Howdy Paul Oh,</p> <p>Would love to talk more, and dig further on flickr taggery, but as you can see from the above I might have "overphenomed" personal experience.&nbsp;</p> <p>John&nbsp; </p>