Written by Taylor Tash
Twitter’s kind of cool I guess. It’s a fantastic way to learn the date of when your favorite pop star’s new album is coming out directly from the artist themselves, or to find out what some girl you went to high school with who you haven’t spoken to in ten years had for lunch. It’s a great avenue for grassroots campaigns and was supposedly such a crucial tool in organizing the 2009 Iranian election protests that the whole movement was widely referred to as ‘the Twitter Revolution.’ Over the years it has proven to evolve from simply a micro-blogging site to a completely new form of communication complete with its very own language. But while hashtagging looks great amongst all the LOLs and I can haz cheezburgerz of blog posts and forums, now that it has infiltrated life outside of the Internet it’s starting to give me a migraine.
There’s a current trend in advertising involving companies simply putting hashtags on billboards, signs on the tops of taxis, and posters in subways. These vague and incredibly alienating ads typically feature no further info about the product other than what company is barraging the viewer with this new form of marketing. One of the worst offenders is the Tropicana orange juice campaign that plasters subway cars with signs that simply say #worstmorningever against a really eye-assaulting orange backdrop. Am I seriously expected to follow Tropicana on Twitter just so I can find out what the hell this is supposed to mean? Just as they’re too lazy to give me an actual advertisement to look at while I ride the train, I’m too lazy to give enough of a shit about their concoction of sugar, food coloring, and ‘natural orange flavors’ to find out why exactly they’re telling me I’m having the worst morning ever, even if it’s eight PM on a Friday and I am in fact having a very good time. Are they telling me that if I’m having the worst morning ever a delicious Tropicana beverage will cheer me up or does it mean their brand of juice is so disgusting that it will automatically give me the worst morning ever if I choose to drink theirs instead of their competitors’? I might never know if I don’t look it up and I really shouldn’t have to do this much work just for someone to convince me to buy something.
Are the people who created these ads voracious Tweeters and hashtaggers themselves or have they just heard that this is what people do these days? Do they think they’re being hip because they’ve suddenly cracked the code of how we young’uns are communicating with each other? Perhaps there is an ulterior reason to why they’re ramming all this gibberish down our throats. I personally avoided using Twitter for years, since initially I assumed it was exclusively created so people could constantly update every mundane detail of their daily lives, and I’ve never cared enough about anyone to want to have access to that kind of information. My friends and I used to joke that there was some big conspiracy involved and the government created Twitter to keep dibs on us. We even came up with the grandiose theory that one day Twitter 2.0 will be developed in which microchips will be implanted in our brains that will automatically update our feeds for us and broadcast to the world where we are and what we’re doing without requiring us to type it out. Now that I can’t even enjoy an episode of ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ without a new hashtag popping up on the screen every five seconds whenever one of the contestants says something catty or witty, I’m beginning to think the conspiracy of a sinister Twitter agenda isn’t such a farfetched theory.
But like I said, Twitter’s kind of cool. In an age of shameless self-promotion it’s a wonderful way to shamelessly self-promote, and there are definitely some positive aspects of having more ways for us to communicate with each other. But come on, all these hashtags are getting a little ridiculous. My apologies if it’s sounding like I’m the world’s youngest old curmudgeon who can’t keep up with the times, #butitsreallyfuckinghardtoreadsentencesthatdonthavespacesbetweenthewords. Let’s keep Internet newspeak where it belongs, and in the meantime please follow me on Twitter @Tash_is_Trash.