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Hashtag: Where Did This #phenomenon Begin and Why Do We #love it (but only on Twitter)?

Hashtag: Where Did This #phenomenon Begin and Why Do We #love it (but only on Twitter)?

The very first hashtag EVER was #barcamp by Chris Messina. Due to this initial successful tryout (against the Twitter boss‘s wishes) we now see hashtags as the first place to find information on the latest news and events on a global scale. Things happen on Twitter through hashtags faster than breaking news programs are able to catch them—the result being that Twitter is now a primary resource for many news stations.

Messina was inspired by Flickr tags to try to get the trend started on Twitter. As a short form of communication, tags/hashtags seemed like a good way of organizing brief exchanges and sharing. And he was right.

From humble beginnings, the hashtag has come to dominate social media platform Twitter. Back in 2009, hashtags were initially talked about as “Twitter groupings”. Four years on, we don’t need that explanation any more.

Hashtag your heart out

The capabilities of hashtags go beyond simple categorising information and discussing events. Hashtags also convey complex emotional responses, context and language styles. As your Twitter profile becomes more and more a part of your personal and professional identity, your choices of hashtags are interpreted by the public as part of your character. This is also true of corporate accounts (and if you weren’t there to see it happen in Twitter, you can now search for hundreds of articles telling you why every company now needs a Pinterest account).

The hashtag is the “smiley” that Twitter doesn’t have. With hastags, you don’t need to scroll through a list to choose the image best representing your emotional state. You can simply invent it on the spot, and combine multiple complex feelings as well as situational context

#MondayMornings #coffee #power

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If you’re short on inspiration, you can also choose from a list of trending or common hashtags. It’s also a pretty efficient way of keeping up with new abbreviations and trending invented words. This all matters a hell of a lot if you work in marketing.

#TGIF

Hashtag hot gossip

The hashtag is a quick route to get a discussion going with anyone in the world on a topic. It is an open and free environment in 140 characters. It can also open the door to Twitter wars: many people have sat on the sidelines watching in glee as Miley Cyrus and Sinead O’Connor sparred over women’s roles in the entertainment (there it is: I finally mentioned Miley Cyrus in an article). Although deep down we suspect that all the big Twitter accounts are run by a few PR professionals, it’s still kind of exciting to think we may be directly communicating with names that we would otherwise have absolutely no way of connecting with at all.

#LouisCK #inappropriate #gottaloveit

Reminder: do not to believe a lot of what goes around on Twitter before proper news reporting has actually been done on it. And beware of fake accounts. But do watch a few parody accounts—they can be golden (e.g. Mundane Bond).

mundane-bond-twitter
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    Hashtag group hug

    Community in a fast-moving tech universe is an addiction. This is obvious from people’s need to share and connect on the many social media platforms available to them. Twitter is often quoted as the most narcissist-encouraging of these platforms.

    #badhair #ugly #hugme #tears

    Whilst it is a method of reaching out to the people, it’s also an invitation for trolls to magnify your plight with sarcasm and often plain cruelty.

    Hashtag lead balloons

    1) Hashtag integration with G+ (auto-generated)

    2) Facebook (not taking off so fast)

    Despite the hashtag culture on Twitter, it has not spread to Facebook and Google+ in the same manner. G+ took the approach of integrating hashtags (i.e. when you post, G+ adds a hashtag on the top right automatically, so your post is categorised for you). Facebook, like Twitter, allows you to attach the hashtag yourself. Perhaps what’s going wrong with Facebook is that it was established without hashtags in the early days. There’s also the issue that if you put a hashtag on your post, it becomes publicly visible to anyone clicking on that hashtag. Facebook is highly personal. Twitter is public and about quickfire info sharing. What is Google+? Perhaps until it develops a clear identity the hashtag will remain an ambiguous character.

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    Hashtag house rules:

    If you want your hashtagged information to be popular rather than spammy, this flowchart explicitly tells you how to do it.

     

    hashtag

      I <3 hashtags

      Hashtags bring out the ordinary in the most seemingly unreachable of people. There is some comfort to be had knowing that The Rock is having a caramel frappucino and damn, is it tasty this morning #winning (note: that was 100% invented by me).

      Here’s an example of “how not to” and “how to” hashtag:

      how-not-to-hashtag
        how-to-hashtag
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          Hashtags are loved because of how easy they are to apply (for users), and how funny it can be to read the messages of those who have gotten it completely wrong (for the observers). The famous YouTube sketch with Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon says it all.

          Using #hashtags makes you #cool.

          Complaining about #hashtags makes you #cool.

          It’s a win/win!

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          Published on April 7, 2021

          6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

          6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

          Some of the most manipulative people are so good at what they do that their words and actions can convince you into thinking they truly care about what’s best for you when in reality, it’s quite the opposite. The most common signs of a controlling person are rarely obvious to outside observers. And for someone enmeshed in a controlling relationship or friendship, it can be incredibly challenging to stay away from this toxic person, even if you’re aware of their emotionally abusive tendencies.

          While it’s ultimately up to you to decide whether to preserve or leave a lopsided, unfulfilling relationship, it’s nevertheless critical to understand the following six signs of controlling people so you can better advocate for yourself and mitigate the influence of their manipulative tendencies in your own life.

          1. They Push Their Own Personal Agenda

          Do you know someone who always tries to micromanage the words, behaviors, and attitudes of people around them? Does this person act like they have the right to know anything they want about you, including your location, what you’re doing in a given moment, who you’re talking to online, or any other private information about you? And when planning events and special occasions, does this person dominate conversations, steer plans in their own preferred directions, disparage others’ suggestions, and refuse to collaborate with anyone who might disagree with them?

          If you answered “yes” to some of the above questions, then those are clear signs of a controlling person whom you absolutely need to be cautious around. Controlling people are reluctant to even consider alternative ideas, let alone enthusiastically work with people who have differing views. They prefer to be the captain of every ship—regardless of how much or how little an issue personally impacts them—and they have an arsenal of manipulative tactics to deploy if someone stands in the way of them achieving their own personal agendas.

          In long-term relationships with controlling people, you may feel constantly pressured to meet their demands, follow their schedule, and focus on whatever they feel is most important. It’s not an exaggeration to say that these people act like the universe revolves around them, which can be exhausting to deal with for their family members, friends, and colleagues.

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          2. They Make Everything Transactional

          Controlling people aren’t always self-centered, but they’re not too empathetic either. Empathy for them tends to appear in the form of strategic concessions they use as a means to get what they want. They typically view interpersonal relationships as transactional opportunities to extract more value from people surrounding them, which can have a draining effect on those they interact with.

          For example, one sign of a controlling person may be their insistence on “keeping score.” This can involve doing nice things for you with the ulterior motive of demanding something from you at a later date in exchange for what you thought was just an act of kindness or a friendly support.

          Perhaps they shower you in praise (also known as “love-bombing”) or gifts then blow up at you if you don’t intuitively know they’re expecting something back from you. None of us are mind-readers, but controlling people behave as though everyone else should think and act like they want others to and those who fall out of line are punished for failing to meet their impossible expectations.

          A controlling person may also threaten to withhold support if you don’t adhere to their demands, but they do so in such subtle ways that the guilt they impose blinds you from the unreasonable nature of their behaviors.

          Some statements to be wary of include:

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          • “I did ___________ for you. What do you mean you can’t do ___________ for me?”
          • “Remember how I helped you with ___________? That took a lot of time and energy from me, but I guess you didn’t appreciate my help.”
          • “I always give you ___________. Don’t you care about my needs too?”
          • “You’re so selfish!” or “You don’t care about me at all!” (gaslighting if you respond with hesitation or politely decline their request for help for perfectly valid reasons, such as not having enough time or resources to assist them)

          3. They Criticize Everything

          One of the most common telltale signs of a controlling person is their capacity to criticize anything and everything, even small things that seemingly don’t matter. As with many toxic traits in relationships, these problems typically start out so small that you may not even notice. At first, you may even agree with their criticism or at least be able to understand their perspective when they bring up an issue.

          However, the criticism tends to get more intense, more constant, and more perplexing for people who maintain relationships with controlling people. You’ll likely notice how they rarely seem to criticize something they do. It’s almost always other-oriented and these types of people are so manipulative that any rationale they offer can seem plausibly legitimate.

          Some warning signs of a controlling person who’s overly critical to the point of abusiveness include:

          • Criticizing things about you that you have little to no control over (e.g., appearance, disability, family)
          • Criticizing your personal choices and interests, such as educational pursuits, career, clothing, favorite music, time spent on your hobbies, etc.
          • Punishing you for expressing vulnerability by invalidating thoughts and feelings you share with them
          • Attacking you whenever you express an opinion counter to theirs

          4. They Balk When Someone Criticizes Them

          We all know the adage, “what goes around, comes around.” But this statement doesn’t apply as much to toxic, controlling people. They’d much prefer to dish out criticism without ever having to take it in return.

          For instance, if your friend constantly talks about your appearance with little regard for your emotions but flips out if you make just a single comment about their appearance, there’s a possibility that they could have some hidden controlling tendencies left unchecked. Remember, these people aren’t just controlling in their behaviors towards others. They’re also actively trying to stay in complete control over every aspect of their lives, which includes how others view them.

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          This seemingly insatiable desire for control can prompt them to lash out against even the smallest bits of criticism, leaving people around them too weary or scared to speak up again in the future. While it’s possible they may suffer from something called rejection sensitivity dysphoria, this does not excuse them from the consequences of their words and actions. They should seek professional help to better manage their reactions to criticism.

          5. They Socially Isolate You

          Not all controlling people do this, but for manipulative narcissists, socially isolating victims is a go-to strategy for maintaining control because it’s effective at preventing people from truly understanding how toxic their partner, family member, or friend is treating them. Think of it this way—if you don’t talk to many other people in your life, there’s less of a risk that you’ll damage their reputation by revealing their abusive tendencies.

          Socially isolating others also gives the person more control over you and your life as it becomes more difficult to break away from them if you don’t have other healthier channels of communication and interpersonal support to turn to.

          This process doesn’t happen overnight, nor is it something you can readily recognize as abusive. At first, it may seem reasonable, such as asking you to stop engaging so often with family members with whom both of you disagree on major social or political issues. As the social isolation progresses, they may suggest cutting people out of your life—especially if they don’t like that person, regardless of how you personally feel—or even conjure up high-stakes problems like “it’s me or them” under the guise of saving you from people in your life whom they don’t like for whatever reason.

          In a controlling person’s life narrative, they’re always the protagonist who’s incapable of any wrongdoing. The blame is always redirected at someone else, whether that’s you or other people in your life. The more they isolate you from other supportive people in your life, the more susceptible you’ll be to falsely believing that they’re right and you “don’t need” your other friends and family when you have someone as perfect as this person.

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          6. They’re Emotionally Abusive

          It’s hard enough to be in control of your own emotions but when someone else is constantly belittling you and your interests or leveraging guilt and shame to manipulate you into saying or doing what they want, this can make it even more challenging to stay in control of your own life and emotional well-being.

          Emotional abuse is another sign of a controlling person that is often overlooked in relationships. After all, human personalities vary widely in terms of passivity, and it’s not uncommon for one person in a relationship to be significantly more passive than the other. This becomes an issue when the controlling partner or friend exudes signs of emotional abuse, which can start subtly and become much more pronounced over time.

          Concerning signs of emotionally abusive language or behavior to watch out for include:

          • Dismissing your needs and/or belittling your interests in counterproductive ways
          • Privately or publicly shaming or humiliating you
          • Making you feel as though you can never live up to their expectations or do anything right (according to their own vague, subjective standards)
          • Gaslighting you into thinking they said or did something that never actually happened (making you question your own reality)

          Final Thoughts

          It’s sometimes hard to see the negative things about someone with whom we have a relationship. We may sometimes unconsciously overlook the signs of a controlling person, especially if that person is someone we have known for a long time or are close to us. However, cutting them off your life is the best thing you can do for yourself. Just watch out for these six signs of a controlling person and take immediate action when you spot them.

          More Tips on How To Deal With a Controlling Person

          Featured photo credit: Külli Kittus via unsplash.com

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