Anagrams & Hashtags

A few months ago my young friend told me about her Mum’s email informing of her Uncle’s sad passing. The sign off Mum used was “LOL, Mum”. This had her puzzled as the text of the email communicated a sad message. She rang to ask Mum what she meant by that. “I always sign my emails like that to friends and family”, she said. “It means Lots of Love”! Today Google is awash with glossaries for social media anagrams — although I’m sure there are some that remain unfathomable — at least to me. But it seems that emojis and GIFs have taken over where anagrams left off.

Then there’s the hashtag craze. A few years ago hashtags were a popular way for seminar attendees to madly race each other to send quotes, questions and opinions to the facilitators and the world at large thereby making the droning of presenters sound like the most exciting act since the Wiggles. Team hashtags lost their gloss pretty quickly — just too Rah Rah for many employees. Marketing gurus went mad for the hashtag craze until that too became very ho-hum. Of course for Twitter devotees the hashtag is a vital signpost and will live on for that tribe as long as that media lasts even though Twitter has been muddied by fake identities — #realDonaldTrump.

Now hashtag has a new audience with the storytelling hashtag. Some of these are very tongue in cheek but it does help if you know how to spell in the first place — #mycamerahasascratchedlense. And one hashtag I read today was #hashtageverythingjusttoconfusemum. Yep, that would work!

I’m a new member on medium.com but I am appreciating the way hashtags are used here. It works much better than other forums. Perhaps that’s because there are more wordsmiths in this community.

If social media is a communication forum it would seem that we are still very tribal, inventing and reinventing our own written language. For many people of diverse age groups, anagrams and hashtags are undecipherable and while they may be humorous or helpful signposts they don’t work as alternatives to common language. But then again, as portals into our select group, perhaps they are not intended for a broader audience — like when we wrote those lemon juice secret messages to each other when I was 8. Having said all of that, IDK, WWJS and MTFBWY #ireallydontknowwhatimtryingtosay #iguessimjustoverit and it’s #3am.