A friend of mine who is a math teacher says she was teaching symbols in her class. She would draw it on the board and her kids would yell out the name.
So she drew “#.”
And her kids yelled “hashtag!”
Hashtag. Of course # is a hashtag. Ten years ago, it was a pound sign, but to a ten year old, # isahashtag.
And while #isahashtag everything else #hasahashtag.
A parade #hasahashtag. A church #hasahashtag. A feeling #hasahashtag. Life #hasahashtag.
Shoot, I find myself often listening to an intelligent news commentator dressed in a $9000 suit sitting in front of three fancy cameras reading to me what Joe Smith tweeted from Wichita, Kansas. #iranoutofthingsofmyowntosay
Did it occur to them that if I wanted to read what ignorant people have to say I would be on Twitter instead of watching Fox News? #whyaretheypayingyou?
Whether or not I am a fan, I’m having to face the fact that Twitter is here to stay. Or at least as much here to stay as any element of technology in our changing world.
And maybe Twitter does bring some good things to our world. It levels the playing field. Anyone can be heard. In 144 characters or less. If they have the right hashtag. Sorry, I meant, #iftheyhavetherighthashtag
Or maybe it doesn’t level the playing field at all. It isn’t about your money. It isn’t about your education. It isn’t about your looks. But it is about your followers. #otherignorantpeople
For example, Delta airlines (who may account for more of our business credit card bill than any other vendor) has little respect for our financial contributions to their quarterlies. Between business, ministry, and personal travel, you’d think they’d at least stop showing me how to buckle my seat belt. But not only do they have no respect, they have no inclination toward flexibility. When you want to change a ticket, you are just a tiny speck of sand on the Delta airlines beach. They will charge you hundreds of dollars more than you already paid to get on the same plane and eat the same pack of pretzels a few hours later than you previously planned.
So, Daniel tweeted about them.
And the next thing we know, Delta is bending over backwards to change tickets. New flights were being scheduled. Open seats were appearing. And Delta was giving out frequent flyer miles like they were a hot potato.
So, apparently, while #Moneytalks, frankly, #Twittertalkslouder.
Then there was State Farm.
We are lawyers. We were suing them. We were dragging them into court on behalf of a compelling plaintiff in front of a jury of people who know well why we call it “Snake Farm.” And they seemed to be treating it like the briar patch.
But a few good tweets and State Farm was ringing our phones. They couldn’t write a check fast enough.
And that’s just the beginning. Companies like Toyota and Enterprise have a lot of concern for their social media reputation. More, in fact, than the actual implications of their actions, their repeat customers, or the signature on the bottom of a legal document.
Apparently, even though it is no longer a pound sign, # gives weight to words in a powerful way.
And in the end, nothing has really changed except that instead of the pen being mightier than the sword, it is now the pound that is mightier than the sword.
That is, the hashtag.