Hashtags. What the ###?

Confession. I love hashtags. Social Media took a completely useless symbol from our antiquated telephone dial pad and made it into, well, a thing!

This month, I have been knee deep in a small group counseling class learning/teaching about therapeutic factors. As a bonus, I’ve been observing the masters level students through a one-way mirror, as they work, in a real-life small group, led by one of the professors/therapists.

Back to hashtags. Screen Shot 2018-05-24 at 6.46.28 PM

Turns out, the popularity of hashtags may actually stem from a therapeutic factor call universality. See, universality is a critical component for establishing cohesiveness and therapeutic processing in a small group setting. It is the process by which people in the group are able to identify and connect with one another. This connection makes problems less isolating, situations unoriginal, and group less scary.

So, hashtags…

What are they? You may be new to social media or just over 30 and don’t understand the phenomenon. Friend, there is no shame in this situation. Listen, I just thought they were cute until a younger person explained them to me.

We use hashtags to identify and locate others in the world who do what we do. If you run #running might appear after a sweaty shot of your in front of a glorious sunrise. You might also add #sunrise.

Then what? Well, you can search for all the photos with the hashtag #running or #sunrise by using the search thingy with the magnifying glass or simply tapping the hashtag. Then, like magic, all the #running or #sunrise or #running #sunrise photos appear in one screen.

Did I mention I adore hashtags?

Your question now might be why do you, Writer, and the other people enjoy the hashtag? Well, my guess is, that it is mainly about connection. We want to know that we’re not alone.

Universality.Screen Shot 2018-05-24 at 6.49.06 PM

Hashtags say, “#metoo #Igetyou #Iseeyou #letsconnect #youbelong #livelifetogether #journeywithfriends #neveralone #loveoneanother.”

Do you love hashtags? Tell me more!

“We are not only gregarious animals, liking to be in sight of our fellows, but we have an innate propensity to get ourselves noticed, and noticed favorably, by our kind.”

– William James