What we learned from Twitter in 2014:
Saying goodbye to the hashtag
The humble hashtag connected our online thoughts and turned personal conversations into global dialogue on topics as diverse as # polarvortex, #cat and #Brazil2014. Alas, the hashtag passed away last month. The cause of death: p.r. failure. It was seven years old.
The hashtag endured a long struggle with Twitter. In April, an ESPN radio show asked listeners to submit questions for NCAA president Mark Emmert using #AskEmmert. “Did it hurt when your soul was removed?” came the typical response. Weeks later the NFL put Roger Goodell on the line with #AskCommish. Typical topics: gay rights, sexual abuse and racism. On the heels of an English soccer title, Manchester City implored its supporters to #AskJesus, meaning midfielder Jesús Navas—not the Lord Almighty. Typical query: “Why [can] you walk on water but dive on grass?” The end was nigh. One tweeter replied to the Mets’ #IamAMetsFanBecause campaign with “I’m an idiot.” Finally, in November, the Cowboys cut out the middleman. Why leave it up to the Internet to insult your team? they seemed to be asking their British supporters when they declared that #CowboysUK.
The # is survived by @, :) and the selfie.