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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

Discussions About This Resource

johnbishop.usm's picture

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

Elyse Eidman-Aadahl's picture

Hi John,

I love the idea of Flickr tag poetry—do you have any favorite examples that show the range of this kind of piece?

johnbishop.usm's picture

Hi Elyse,

There's a pool for flickr poetry--those who write poetry to accompany their own images

Then an example of a response in poetry from a viewer

Then an example from a small pool of tag poets

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."



poh's picture

Love this concept, too, John. We should talk - perhaps you could work up a Digital Is resource on the phenomenon.

johnbishop.usm's picture

Howdy Paul Oh,

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. 


poh's picture
Posted by Paul Oh
on Mar 16 2011

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