Wednesday, March 13, 2019


The hashtag.

Invented by Chris Messina in 2007, immediately dubbed "a thing for nerds." Maybe it still is a thing for nerds, but what even is a nerd in 2019?

Wikipedia describes a nerd as "a person seen as overly intellectual, obsessive, introverted or lacking social skills." Ask any given thirty-something-year-old and they'd identify strongly with most or all of that definition. It should not surprise anybody, then, that hashtags are pretty widely used now.

There are those who use them "ironically" but in a way that serves no actual purpose (#icouldhavemadethisjokeinthecaptionbutforsomereasoniammakingitahashtaginstead).

There are those who use it for networking purposes, to connect with people who have common interests (#amwriting #amediting #writingcommunity #peoplewholikebutter).

There are those who don't understand how hashtags work at all (#you're going to wreck your hashtag if you use punctuation, symbols, & spaces and this hashtag will actually show up as just 'you').

There are those who use hashtags because they've seen other people do it but they don't really know why so they just go to town with relevant and irrelevant words (#why? #blog #hashtag #likeittoknowit #peanutbutter #blue #thatsdarling).

And then there are those who use hashtags to group their own content together so they can find it easier—for weddings, say, or pictures of their kids or pets or whatever. That's how I mostly use them, and I'm writing this blog post because someone asked me the other day why I hashtag all of my live music pictures on Instagram #suzyslivemusicdiary.

This is why:

How cool is it to be able to click one link and be able to see pictures from every single live music event I've been to for the past decade? The scrapbookers of the 90s are collectively dying of jealousy right now. 

Would you like to see the other hashtags I've been adding to? Of course you wouldn't! But I will show you anyway, for I am a blogger and it is what we do.

This one, I started fairly recently. I call it #bookmusiccombo and I add to it every time I read a book. Before I begin, I stand in front of my CD collection (yes, I still have a physical CD collection and I will never not have one) and decide which album matches the atmosphere of the book I am about to read—weirdly enough, the album art usually matches the book cover, like they were made for each other. If Barclay is in the room, I pull him into the decision and we both think it's very fun. You should try it sometime. (But get your own hashtag.)

This one is just for fun, because it's social media, and social media is all, really, just for fun. Plus, I love pictures of coffee in my Instagram feed. I don't know why; it just makes me happy. So if you follow me and you're like, Suzy, you post too many pictures of coffee; why do you do that? It's because I love seeing it, so I figure some other people love seeing it, and I want to contribute to the online caffeine zeitgeist (I don't fully understand how to use that word correctly, I'm sorry). 

Then there's this one, which is the modern equivalent of carrying your kids' pictures in your wallet. "Oh, yes, I have a video of him playing the drums RIGHT HERE, one sec—"

Okay one more. This one is fun for me, because I started it when I started writing Valencia and Valentine. The first few pictures are of my view from the Naked Bean when I was writing the first draft, then there's a shot of the mess on my coffee table the first time I pulled an all-night getting together a manuscript to send to an agent, and then there's the agency announcement, the book deal announcement, the cover reveal, and the physical copies arriving. That last picture, up in the left hand corner, was actually taken by my editor, with New York in the background (that's where a bit of the book takes place). And as people read the book and post pictures of it on Instagram (hopefully) they'll use the hashtag and I'll be able to see what they're saying about it. Fun, right? 

So. That's that.