Alison Berkley Margo: The Princess’s Palate
Ryan Summerlin February 21, 2013
@aspenprincess: #hashtagsaredrivingmecrazy #amitheonlyone #howisawritersupposedtocommunicatethisway Someone please tell me why people are now talking in hashtag because I hate it.
As a writer, it’s bad enough seeing people constantly misuse apostrophes (note: I did not say “apostrophe’s” or “its”) confuse homonyms (it seems that their never able to get they’re facts straight) and abbreviating words with letters (u do it 2). It physically hurts, like nails on my literary chalkboard.
I’ll waste half the day just so I can text using proper capitals and punctuation as I thumb-type to that annoying friend who refuses to actually speak to me on the phone since that would be so much easier than driving, texting and drinking a latte.
I can feel the generation gap widen as I am forced to decode every stupid acronym that someone types to me on Facebook, my hair turning gray as I type, “What the hell does TTYL mean?” banging on the keys a little harder than I need to. Duh, I know what LOL means, but I personally like “hahahaha” better or even “jajajajaja” because my brother lives in Costa Rica and is bilingual in Spanish, and that’s how they spell it, and I think it looks cool.
But seriously: I would rather eat lint than tolerate one more minute of this hashtag business.
Yes, I know what hashtags are for. And yes, I know that a lot of us now have our Twitter, Instagram and Facebook accounts linked together because we actually believe social media is going to get us somewhere. So now the whole world needs to know that you had a #powday @aspensnowmass three times over because the photo, video and description you posted (with friends tagged and location included) wasn’t enough.
I get it that the hashtag denotes a subject that may or may not make your Tweet more visible to the greater universe, but come on @lizyzil, I love you but there are probably only like 10 people who know what the hell #kodahhasacousin means.
I don’t know what it is about these little snotty postscript phrases that make me want to throw things. As if posting a photo of yourself riding powder hasn’t fully satisfied your bragging rights (I still don’t understand how people have the patience to stop and take a photo on a powder day), you have to follow it up with some snotty remark like #thesnowreportlied.
The way I read that is, “I got to ski pow because I rolled up the minute ski patrol, dropped the G-zone gate, and you missed it, na-na-na-na-na-na, Sucka,” but I guess that’s more than 140 characters.
It was bad enough when we were given social-media channels that allowed us to be simultaneously narcissistic and voyeuristic at the same time, but now we’re doing that and macerating the English language into a puddle of sugary, goopy glop.
I’ll be the first to admit that when I post a photo of myself @aspensnowmass #Highlands #HighlandBowl, I’ll sit maniacally with my laptop in front of the TV, watching “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” and checking Facebook every five seconds to see who commented on it. (Thanks to @steepskiing for differentiating the proper references for Highland Bowl and the ski area without actually having to use any real words like “differentiate.”)
If comments or likes on the 50th photo I’ve posted of myself
hiking Highland Bowl this season slows down (#checkmeout #42goingon15 #doyoulikemyskioutfit), I’ll kill some time by cyber-stalking my boyfriend from fifth grade, who married a gynecologist and lives in New Jersey even though I haven’t spoken to him in like 30 years. As I scroll through photos of his 12-year-old daughter at her regional gymnastics meet, it occurs to me that this is not only a colossal waste of time but probably a little unhealthy. Thank God that little red notification alert pops up so I know people are paying attention to me again, what, before I walk a little too far down memory lane.
(By the way, in researching this article, I discovered that there is actually a band called Their They’re There.)
Another thing that’s really been annoying me lately is when people post these disclaimers on Facebook about how they want you to protect their privacy. Hello, people – there is nothing private about Facebook, and didn’t your mom ever tell you that nothing in life is free? If you’re so worried about your privacy, maybe you should think about pulling down the shades before you undress #checkmeout #smallboobsaresexytoo
What really blows me away is how people fall into some kind of strange behavioral pattern because that’s what society (or technology) dictates, without even questioning it. As someone who considers writing a communication art, my goal is to write the way in which I might speak (though you wouldn’t catch me dead saying “the way in which I might speak”). I am always looking for new ways to describe things, avoiding tired cliches and obvious analogies, but whatever I’m doing, whether it’s storytelling, ranting, whining or indulging my pettiest thoughts for the whole world to read, I consider it a craft, and I think a lot about how I put words together.
I know what you’re thinking: I’m turning into a bitter old lady who lives up a little red canyon in the middle of nowhere and hates technology. Pretty soon I’m going to stop having my roots done or getting my hair cut or maintaining my twice-yearly Botox. I’m going to buy a typewriter and start collecting old rotary phones and vinyl records and wearing Crocs with wool socks.
I might still have my Twitter feed and my Instagram photos, and I’ll still be stalking you on Facebook, but the only time you’ll see me stringing words together without punctuation marks is when I’ve finally broken my cleanse with a shot or four of tequila. #drunkprincess #dextoxtoretox #practicewhatyoupreach.
No joke – you should follow the Princess on Twitter at @aspenprincess. Be the 500th follower and receive a free Aspen Princess tank-top! #selfpromoter #shamlessplug