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By Cody Duane-McGlashan

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When I see a “#” pop up on whatever social networking site I happen to be wasting my precious time on, my heart rate immediately increases, my pulse quickens and the desire to punch the nearest inanimate object almost gets the better of me.

The fact that hashtags make me so upset is ridiculous when I think about it. All I’m getting mad about is a number sign in front of a word relating to the post, but the pointlessness and ubiquity of something that is hardly ever beneficial is infuriating.

The madness all started on twitter in 2007 when a San Diego local, Nate Rittier, casually added a hashtag while tweeting about a local wildfire. The sign became even more popular in the Iranian election protests in 2009-2010 with hashtags relating to the local corruption and protests spread to the rest of the world.

In 2010 twitter added “trending topics” to the homepage, which traced hashtags that had been used the most at that time. These sorts of hashtags seemed useful, helping group posts about the same topics, but as with many technological advances, they became extremely overused. Based on the popularity of hashtags on Twitter, some people began using them on Facebook too. Thus began the emergence of pointless hashtags.

On Facebook, using a # does literally nothing, with no way to click them and find related posts. With the emerging popularity of Instagram and its hashtags, the problem has reached a new level.

There is hardly a day that goes by without a hashtag catching my eye. Most of them do nothing, with arbitrary words that no one will ever click on to see other related pictures. #delicious does not make the food you posted any more delicious, and there is really no need to put a hashtag to make food #food. Everyone who bothers to look at your picture is aware that your over-filtered photo is food. This is a common problem: words that would never be posted with out a # in front of them.

That being said, #yolo can be quite entertaining, with over 7 million photos on Instagram featuring a range of artistic styles from underage drinking to dogs, but ultimately what I find comical about it is the stupidity of the posts.

So next time you go to put that # sign in front of your photo or post, ask yourself, what is the motivation behind it? Will it add anything to increase the quality of your post? Do you find it ironically funny to use a hashtag, or are you just a follower, blindly trying to catch up with the latest trend? Pun intended.