Full disclosure: I’m not really a fan of hashtags, for anything, ever. I don’t really get the point of them – maybe because I am a Luddite who also doesn’t understand Twitter (although I do have a Twitter account which I created to get early access to reservations for Dine Out Vancouver in … 2011 maybe? Anyway, I’m pretty sure said account has now been taken over by spambots. Follow me at @jeanlomas! I’ll most likely continue to post nothing.). I think I know why people use hashtags – (1) to categorize posts and make them easily searchable, (2) to promote something to a larger audience/allow for discussion of a particular topic or issue with a wider group of people than you’d normally connect with, and/or (3) to emphasize a point or add some humour – but I still don’t really get it. So that’s where this is coming from.
Now that that’s out of the way, can we talk about baby hashtags for a minute? I’ll start the ball rolling: WHAT THE HELL IS UP WITH BABY HASHTAGS?! WHYYYYY.
A number of my Facebook friends have picked up on the trend of creating hashtags for their babies. These hashtags often incorporate a cutesy riff on the baby’s name, and are used when referencing said baby in status updates, picture captions, and comments. Now, there might be a perfectly good reason for this practice, but to me it comes off as a bit … much, and I’m just not clear on the parents’ motivations. Are their babies famous? Are they trying to make their babies famous? Do they post so many pictures of so many different things that they need a hashtag to be able to sort out the ones that are of their babies? Do they really think anyone* is so concerned about possibly missing a picture or update on wee #poopsie that they will need a way to search?
Also, what’s the deal with multiple hashtags? Are they hoping to improve their Facebook-photo SEO? Lately I’ve been seeing pictures captioned like this:
(Don’t ask me why little Joey Jo-Jo is only just having his first bath at four months old. I don’t know, because I made him up. That’s right, folks: the above picture isn’t a photo at all, but a spectacular DRAWING done by yours truly! Fooled you.)
I feel like we might be taking this whole personal branding thing a bit too far. Has it really gotten to the point where we’re trying to live out our promised Warholian 15 minutes of fame via our children?
In case you’re as confused as I am about this phenomenon, I’ve partnered with the top quiz scientists in all the land** to bring you this handy questionnaire, which will help you determine if your baby needs his/her own hashtag:
- Are you famous?
- Is your baby famous?
- Is your baby not a baby at all, but a brand?
- Are you hoping your baby will go viral?***
If you answered “Yes” to any of the above questions, your baby might need a hashtag … but could probably get by just fine without one.
Can someone please explain this to me? Maybe someone who does this – or even one of my Facebook friends who does it and hasn’t unfriended me after reading this (please don’t unfriend me! I like you and your cute baby pictures!) – can shed some light on why this might be necessary. If so, I’d really appreciate it.
*other than Grandma, who probably still calls it a pound sign, and who is most likely receiving pictures and updates via email, direct message or phone anyway
**that is to say, no one at all
***wait – don’t answer that one. It’ll just make me sad.