Thoughts on ELT, English and whatever else comes into my head
A couple of years ago most people probably couldn’t have said off the top of their head where the # key was on their keyboard. Now, like the @ sign it appears in all sorts of places it has no business being.
It’s no surprise misuse of # and @ bugs me so much since these signs are the punctuation of social networking. And punctuation is grammar. Just as it makes my ears bleed when I hear people talking about “pronounciation” or writing “I’d of” or “describing hairless people as “bold” it makes me so !@#*$! mad when they pepper their Facebook statuses with hashtags.
Even though people know # and @ are for linking topics or people on Twitter and Instagram, the “everyone else is doing it” justification abounds.
They’re redundant – absolutely and totally without use or merit anywhere other than those sites. Would you put them in emails? Text messages?
There aren’t many real life reasons I can think of for using hashtags. But if you’re seriously, tremor inducing addicted you could start creating posts related to the following:
1) Use hashtags to denote the word “number” e.g.
Things to do today:
#1 Stop using hashtags
#2 Only use @ in front of someone’s name on Twitter since Facebook has the function of connecting to them just by typing their name correctly.
There’s no actual point doing this since the 1 and 2 stand alone as numbers and don’t need a sign indicating that a digit will follow but, then, there’s no point using them in front of anything on Facebook either so I doubt that will deter the seriously afflicted.
You could get away with this: Beethoven’s Symphony #5. But isn’t that a very ugly way to name a beautiful piece of music? However, that would just be my personal opinion rather than a clear case of use or misuse.
2) If you want to play a microscopic game of noughts and crosses.
3) You’re writing music and can’t find the correct symbol for a sharp note.
4) In some mathematical formulas that need a degree in maths to use properly, meaning the correct usage is even harder to fathom than Twitter vs Facebook so I doubt you’ll manage it.
5) In computer programming. See #4 above.
6) Get a job as a teletext subtitler where the hashtag denotes singing in the background # Ra ra ah ah ah, ga ga ooo la la #
7) Or if that’s too low brow, become a doctor and use it to mean “fracture”; a linguistics professor and use it alienate anyone outside of linguistics when showing word boundaries or strange syntax that is otherwise grammatically accurate; a copywriter to indicate the end of a press release or errors for correction (but not if the error is that someone has misused a hashtag or that would mean ### #) ; a chess journalist to mean checkmate; a mining engineer to stand in for “seam” or “shaft”
8) As I did in the second paragraph above. And don’t $%!#@>&! use them for anything else. Please.