I’m a huge fan of Instagram.  Even though they took forever to come to Android, I can forgive them now, since they seem to be releasing features to both platforms at once.  There is something I HATE about instagram though.  Now that Facebook has clickable hashtags as well, it’s becoming more and more prevalent.  It needs to stop.  If I need to start a support group for you to cure you of this habit, I will totally do it.  It is #hashtagabuse.  It’s coming to the point where #HastagAbuse is becoming epidemic!  There are several forms of abuse here, so let me break them down for you.

Crazy long hashtags that take me about a minute to actual decipher what they are trying to say (especially if they don’t make it easy to read by capitalizing the first letter of each word, which I have done for you here).

I have a picture of a bunch of kids (my own) all crowded together with the hashtag #IllSitWhereverIWantToday…. #hashtagabuse

Picture of myself in a dress #IFound5DressesToBuyTodayButThisWasntOneOfThem…. #hashtagabuse

Another form is having conversations with yourself via hashtag…

Picture of your kid eating cereal #WhoWantsFruit #NotThisGirl

Last of all we have the hashtag stuffers…

Picture of myself at the beach #beach #sun #fun #summer #vacation #sunscreen #water #sand #sunshine #tanlines #tan #towel #umbrella #waves #surf #WhosReadyForTheWater #ThisGirl


To understand what is so wrong about these hashtags, let’s go back to what a hashtag IS.  A hashtag helps you to find similar content.  In Twitter you use a hashtag in your tweet and someone can click on that hashtag to find all of the other tweets about the same subject.  It’s very useful.  In instagram, same thing.  Click the hashtag and all the images people have posted with that same hashtag are displayed.  In Facebook, click the friendly little hashtag and all of the images/status updates/shared links, etc that people have posted will be shown.  It’s a great way to find content similar to what you are talking about, or content that you are interested in finding.

This means that the more relevant the hashtag is to the content you are sharing, the more it’s going to be discovered by other people.  Using a hashtag like #beach on a beach picture is a perfect way for other people to find your beach picture.  This is definitely why the hashtag stuffing comes into play.  People want to use as many hashtags as possible for others to find their content.  The problem becomes when it’s just too much and looks messy.  Your picture of the beach isn’t exactly what I want to find when I’m clicking #towel.  Limit yourself to 5-6 hashtags and try to make them as perfect for the picture or update as possible.

Now that we know the basis behind the hashtags, what does a ridiculously long hashtag get you?  I understand using hashtags to be funny, and a well placed funny hashtag can really be the icing on top of an already great image.  When the hashtag just becomes a sentence that describes the image, why not just write out the whole sentence?  It’s not funny in hashtag form, and it’s a little annoying to try and figure out where the words should be spaced sometimes.  A hashtag I made up during the winter was #IBlameBrittney.  I used it for all posts involving snow, since it’s a joke between a friend of mine and I that anytime it snows in Utah, it’s her fault.  It was short, it was descriptive (even a little bit inside jokey), and it worked.  What I did not use was #BrittneyNeedsToStopMakingItSnow.  It’s too long, and I can get the idea across much better in a short succinct hashtag.

So, go forth and hashtag your content on all platforms now that they all make hashtags clickable, but please #StopAbusingHashtags!

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About the author

Sarah Werle Kimmel

Sarah Werle Kimmel is a digital parenting coach and family tech expert. She has spent the last 20 years of her career working as a Microsoft Certified IT Manager supporting over 100 small businesses. During that time she started Family Tech LLC to help families understand and manage the technology in their home. She has regularly appeared as a family tech expert on local NBC, CBS, ABC and FOX news affiliates, BYUtv and Studio 5, and has been invited all over the world from tech companies like Lenovo, Verizon, Microsoft, Dell, and Samsung. Find out more on her website SarahKimmel.com


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  • The only thing I didn’t find obnoxious about this post was the explanation of hashtags, as I realize there are people out there who don’t know what they are for or how to use them. Perhaps it’s also worth mentioning that punctuation in hashtags effectively end the hashtag.
    As a hashtag abuser of every kind listed in this article (and others not listed), I’m intentional in my abuse of them and this article only makes me want to do more abusing because I find it highly entertaining and comical that people care enough to write articles about such things in such an opinionated and emotional fashion. #sometimesimimmature
    They are hashtags for heaven’s sake. If you don’t want to decipher them, don’t try.
    I always find it interesting when people have opinions about how others use social media. Advice for people trying to use social media in a specific way (to advertise, to get a job, to get followers) or for newbies? Fine. But otherwise, it’s someone’s personal feed. If you don’t like it, don’t follow them. Or silence their wall. Or don’t read the hashtags. Or think to yourself, “Wow, that’s obnoxious,” and get on with your life.
    Along the “advice” lines, this post could have been written in a way that was more in that tone and it would have been a lot less irritating and judgmental sounding, in my opinion. Isn’t that the premise of your blog? Instead, you’ll likely now have a bunch of non-tech savvy mom’s out there thinking they’re doing it wrong. When really, they’re just not doing it how you think they should. One of my biggest issues with mommy-bloggers is how so many of you are so opinionated about how other people (especially moms) do things.
    I’m hoping this post was intended to be more advice than judgement, and probably more lighthearted than it sounds.

  • He he, I know a few hashtag happy people. I am amazed by some that people come up with. I am bad at remembering to use them. New follower from Mom it Forward on several channels.