When was the last time you’ve used the “#” symbol for a phone call? When have you ever used the “#” for a phone call is probably a better question to ask. I can’t even think of what it was used for in the past, collect phone calls maybe. The only use for “#” I know of is either to represent some numerical value or quite possibly the most influential piece of slang at the moment.
I love Twitter, and that’s probably an understatement. I enjoy (almost) everything about it. The conversations, jokes, fights, rants, subtweeting for no legitimate reason, parody accounts, celebrities making their PR staffs have seizure, I love it all! That said, it wasn’t an instant love affair. When first enjoying the website, I found no purpose with it. Sure I make “Facebook updates” but that’s all to this place? I quickly became confused for why I “needed” an account when I didn’t know what was going on and more importantly didn’t see people I regularly talk to on there. So for those reasons I became inactive for a good 6-8 months until my dad gave me his old iPhone when the 3G came out. By this time I disregarded my initial thought that iPhones were stupid when they originally came out; and I saw this as my chance to finally indulged in the bliss of apps. Then I realized that maybe Twitter would be more useful now since I have a phone to tweet with. And the rest is an ongoing history…
Facebook by this time was no longer the pride and joy of college students as our own personal, somewhat private network. Mark decided (and rightly so from a business standpoint) to expand his market, throw up ads, allow mind-numbing games to suck out productivity along with a great movie to chronicle these events to make him a billionaire. So now not only can I see pictures of my friends trying to reenact Anchorman and The Hangover, I can read about how Ms. Wendell down the street baked a delicious apple pie or see how one of my relative asked “How does this thing work?’ Facebook progressively became open to any email account now, not just ones ending with .edu. It had lost the novelty that high school seniors were anxious to find out about and what saved college students from sheer boredom at 3:17 A.M. It also meant that picture of you climbing on the statue of the founder of your university and placing a beer bong hat on its head wasn’t the best look as you apply for an internship with Wells Fargo. It meant that if you cared about your professional future (depending on your major and desired career field), it meant it was time to grow the hell up. Or did it just mean you had to grow up solely on Facebook?
Twitter seems to be the direct culmination of the community of one social network who needed a new mic to talk s**t with since corporate America plugged in Facebook’s microphone. And the “#” symbol only encouraged this feeling. When I really started to get the hang of Twitter I noticed how trending topics (TT’s) could start from literally anything. It’s still the same today but now with everyone realizing its power some TT’s seem more manufactured now, which I generally don’t mind if they’re funny. Can things trend without the “#” symbol, of course it can. So why does it seem so necessary? For one thing the “#” symbol serves as Google Search for Twitter in essence. You can find out what everyone else thinks about the topic #MyCoWorkerIsCrazy (which is trending at the time I’m typing this). After awhile I noticed how myself and others started using it for anything we wanted to along with other forms of text (text messages, Facebook, etc.). It was becoming not only Internet meme but a part of everyday language.
It’s evident that social media has changed the way people communicate with each other, and now the “#” symbol is one the of best examples of that. Charlie Sheen made a meltdown (fake or not) marketable by combining one simple word (although is was already Internet meme) and one simple symbol, #Winning. “#” has the ability to have people from around the world to comment and focus on a certain topic, that’s pretty powerful to me!