Hashtags

Hashtag is a type of metadata tag used on social media (and microblogging services) which facilitates for users to find content published by users on a specific topic or theme (for example: #wdig) and by using this symbol, you are making your content public. This preeminent symbol of grouped information was invented by Chris Messina who proposed the idea to Twitter, a new social network by that time, and after becoming greatly successful, other social media started to use the symbol as well.

Personally, I think hashtags have their benefits and their disadvantages. They were created for our own advantage. Hashtags can raise awareness of important campaigns and organizations, entertain the users of the social media when the theme is comical and/or trending and promote a brand or a social media page that wants to achieve/spread their target audience.

“The danger of participation is that there are hundreds or even thousands of potentially critical eyes watching every entry. A faulty fact will be challenged, a lie will be uncovered, plagiarism will be discovered. Cyberspace is a truth serum.” (Rushkoff 1994: 36). This quote was used in the second chapter of the book called “Understanding Social Media” by Larissa Hjorth and Sam Hinton. I do not enterily agree with this quote. I do believe many fake stories are told and found out on Internet but there is regular users can lie about their lifestyle and brands may not tell the thruth about a product to protect their sales.

Also, hashtags can help the users to get “likes” which is the button that we press when we find a post interesting. This can stimulate the user’s self-esteem because it makes them feel more approved when their post reach a high number of likes. So, they use hashtags to spread their content but it might not be as safe as they think it is.

“…Are users the controllers, who are powerful because they can create the content in stark contrast to the powerless audience of mass media, or are users the subjects of control, as their personal information and creative and cultural labour is monitored and commodified by social media companies?” The users have an illusion of freedom in social media since they think that managing their own account is having control over their contacts, information and image. However, they are actually unconsciously accepting a contract with a big business, delivering to them their identity, location and personal conversation. Previously I mentioned users use hashtags to get likes and many of them use as many as possible, and they might not think in the consequences of posting a picture of their face using #selfie in the caption.

Firstly, you are sharing the image of your face with the world along with the link of your profile, therefore people can anonymously see other pictures, where you live and topics you are interested in. There is a lot of people with bad intentions online so you could risk yourself just for having a profile. Also, a hacker that gets interest in you, can easily have access to private information. In conclusion, the hashtag can be dangerous due to the overexposure.

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