Friday, May 31, 2013

Also, they're too tiny for tic-tac-toe

I saw something on the Internet that annoyed me.

It's something that everyone, including myself, has done on occasion. It has its place.

I've blogged about it before.

I don't think less of people for doing it.

It's not at all important in the scheme of things, really.

But it's still hard to let go.

Excessive hashtags on Facebook.

Today I saw an item that had 26 hashtags. TWENTY-SIX! That's 223 characters, not counting spaces. That's enough to fill nearly two full (unreadable) tweets.

Supposedly, Facebook may be experimenting with hashtags soon. As far as I can tell, that time hasn't yet come. But when it does, a tutorial about tags might be in order.

As of tomorrow, I will have been tilting at windmills blogging for nine years. The only time I ever tagged posts is when I blogged on the Springfield News-Leader's website. That was in 2008, before Blogger had an easy way to tag posts. I realized quickly that I hated coming up with tag terms, because my vocabulary OCD would kick in. I would want to tag every proper noun, then every improper noun, then every verb, then half the conjunctions and some of the articles. (Eventually, I made a running gag of tagging every post with "aggravating" and "squirrels.") Left to my own OCD devices, I might have strung tag lists longer than the posts themselves. After a point, I decided I'd let the posts speak for themselves.

I encourage anyone tempted to go overboard on filling the unlimited space that Facebook provides to show a little restraint. Hashtags work on Twitter because they're searchable and, most importantly, you're limited in how many you can write. Facebook is not (yet?) searchable and allows far more space for tags than is forgivable. Sometimes more isn't more.

Oh, and that hash salad I mentioned earlier? It was a shared advertisement. 

That's not cool either.

Anyone who can get creative with hashtags can — and should — be just as creative without them. 

Solid content has its own way of getting around.

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