#crashtags: Why add space-economical hashtags to near-unlimited Google+ posts?
July 15, 2011 1:06 PM   Subscribe

#crashtags. Why, MeFi’s own Adrian Holovaty asks, would one need to add hashtags – designed for space-economical Twitter, where every character counts – to Google+, which has orders of magnitude more space to express oneself? And should Twitter really be influencing our online behaviour thus, given “how limiting (and, frankly, silly) Twitter is”?

Holovaty (previously) continues: “I think in a few years people will look back at Twitter and feel like they were, well, duped in a way – millions of grown men and women, adults, typing in obscure abbreviations and making up messy syntaxes just to fit a semi-arbitrary character limit.”
posted by joeclark (98 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
#firstcommentusingahashtag(whichismorethandiscouragedonmefi)inanironicreplytothearticle
posted by griphus at 1:10 PM on July 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


I can answer the two questions asked in this post.

No and no.
posted by SeanOfTheHillPeople at 1:11 PM on July 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


I hate Twitter. It's unreasonable but I do. I hate it because it makes me feel old: it's the first internet service that I genuinely don't get why people want to use it so much. I don't like Facebook but I have one and I understand why people use it. But Twitter, no idea, no matter how often people explain its benefits to me.

Also the endless pressure by my university for me to use it in class doesn't help either.

In conclusion: die, Twitter, die. WHY WON'T YOU DIE.

*ahem*
posted by lesbiassparrow at 1:12 PM on July 15, 2011 [22 favorites]


Why? No.
posted by swift at 1:12 PM on July 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


Strangely, Twitter is reminding me a lot of Myspace these days- it's always trying to steer me towards various celebrities to get the latest HOT GOSSIP and I just don't give a shit. I like to express myself in more than 140 characters, sorry guys.
posted by dunkadunc at 1:12 PM on July 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


2009-2011 will be considered "the missing three years" when many personal journals dried up and were replaced with tweets which are publicly neither archived nor searchable. I'm already starting to drift to G+ which allows more context and will certainly be accessible in the distant future like next week.
posted by seanmpuckett at 1:12 PM on July 15, 2011 [15 favorites]


I can answer the two questions asked in this post.

No and no.


"No" is not an appropriate answer to a "why" question. You are so failing this exam.
posted by Hoopo at 1:12 PM on July 15, 2011 [11 favorites]


Dammit! swift is too ... um.... swift.
posted by Hoopo at 1:13 PM on July 15, 2011


Twitter is fast paced, and more like a global successor to IRC than it is to BBSes and Blogs. Twitter is popular because it either does, or makes people feel like they can potentially be famous by being witty - helped along by the presence of a lot of famous people who don't have the time or ability to write an extended thought, but can easily manage a pithy 1 word sentence (or have their publicity team manage it for them). Even if you dislike it, there's a lot more to Twitter than can be addressed by 3 paragraphs that essentially just dismiss it as stupid.

Sort of a weak post, in my opinion.
posted by codacorolla at 1:15 PM on July 15, 2011 [8 favorites]


I occasionally use hashtags on Twitter but nowhere else. I definitely see them used in other places, like Facebook, which makes no sense to me. Like when people use the @ thing to reply to comments here, it's just inappropriate.
posted by tommasz at 1:15 PM on July 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


Hash tags are just a way to categorize and make your posts searchable. I don't know why people get so upset about hashtags when they're basically equivalent to metafilter tags
posted by Cloud King at 1:16 PM on July 15, 2011 [14 favorites]


Twitter is a gateway drug. Seems harmless but next thing you know there's hash sticking to everything.
posted by mannequito at 1:17 PM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


#makingexcusesfordumbmistakes My answer of "no" to a "why" question on a subject I don't care for was inspired by the G.O.P.
posted by SeanOfTheHillPeople at 1:17 PM on July 15, 2011


That's weird. My initial thought is that hashtags would be more useful to categorize longer pieces of writing.
posted by ODiV at 1:19 PM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


More hash browns fewer hash tags
posted by 2bucksplus at 1:19 PM on July 15, 2011 [12 favorites]


I only use hashtags on facebook as a way to make fun of how fucking stupid they are. I agree with Holovaty about people being duped, but they duped themselves.
posted by rusty at 1:21 PM on July 15, 2011


Hashtags have become something of a meme. To the point where I've actually heard people actually say "hashtag" out loud. It's slightly irritating, but it's a thing people do.

The @ tag (even here on Metafilter) doesn't really bother me. It's a reasonable way to signal that you're going to be using a user name. If I were writing a post about the red giant in Orion, things could get confusing without the @ tag.
posted by Betelgeuse at 1:22 PM on July 15, 2011


millions of grown men and women, adults, typing in obscure abbreviations and making up messy syntaxes just to fit a semi-arbitrary character limit

Anybody remember classified ads?
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:25 PM on July 15, 2011 [8 favorites]


I saw a Google+ post the other day explaining the whole circles thing to the uninitiated. It started: "Public is Twitter..." What? No.
posted by mysterpigg at 1:25 PM on July 15, 2011


#hashtagbrownies
posted by Eideteker at 1:26 PM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hashtags in and of themselves aren't necessarily bad - you're adding metadata to the post to make particular subjects more easily searchable, and it's quite nice to be able to label particular words inline as the most important. However, they seem to have grown in response to user habits on Twitter fairly organically, and feel like a solution that works around a lack of design. Google are making something entirely new, so don't have that restriction - I would hugely prefer it if the G+ team would simply give you the ability to tag words (much as you can tag Facebook users) and not have extraneous punctuation clogging the place up.
posted by ZsigE at 1:28 PM on July 15, 2011


Writing to Twitter's restrictions is like creating haiku – it's format is limiting, but it's a fun exercise if you're a writer. Plenty of pro writers tweet – it's a great way to procrastinate from whatever your current assignment/project is, and you can always tell yourself it's OK because (a) it's only 140 characters, and (b) at least you're still writing.
posted by Laminda at 1:29 PM on July 15, 2011 [8 favorites]


Disagree. Twitter's short attention-span theater messaging limit is a genuine advantage in the mobile space -- it's the most mobile-appropriate messaging service out there.

And, speaking for myself, the message length limit has forced me to tighten up my writing style quite a bit, which is almost always a good thing.
posted by jeffehobbs at 1:30 PM on July 15, 2011 [15 favorites]


I do like the idea of tagging posts (On Google+, on Twitter, on MeFi, elsewhere) with contextual labels, especially in a social setting. Can this be accomplished with hashtags? Yes. Does it have to be accomplished with hashtags? No.

The problem this suggestion appears to be having is dragging old biases (Twitter) into a new medium (G+). So do folks have a problem with tagging or hashtagging?
posted by m@f at 1:31 PM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hashtags are great. If I'm interested in #foo, I search twitter by that hashtag and not only get lots of #foo goodness, I find other devotees of #foo I may wish to follow. Google+ can change the name and/or change the syntax, but they'd be fools to skip on the concept.
posted by rocket88 at 1:36 PM on July 15, 2011 [6 favorites]


Twitter is like a really cool horse saddle invented in the final days before everyone stopped riding horses and got automobiles.
posted by mullingitover at 1:36 PM on July 15, 2011 [6 favorites]


tweets which are publicly neither archived nor searchable. I'm already starting to drift to G+ which allows more context and will certainly be accessible in the distant future like next week.

Both will trap your content forever on private, US-based servers owned by companies with fluid terms of service. Yes, Twitter is hard to search on purpose. No, the fact that a Google product is inherently easy to search doesn't mean you'll actually be able to eradicate that data from G's servers—ever—should you want to. And you should have that right.
posted by tapesonthefloor at 1:36 PM on July 15, 2011


I didn't have time to write you a short letter tweet @ you, so I wrote a long one an email.
posted by 2bucksplus at 1:39 PM on July 15, 2011


Twitter is public speech couple with internet-standard weak anonymity. Facebook has the bullshit pretending to privacy while lying through their teeth and totally violating anonymity. I donno how Google+ handles this exactly, but clearly they don't respect anonymity. Twitter serves a necessary function.
posted by jeffburdges at 1:40 PM on July 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Half of Twitter's raison d'etre is to give people a chance to make huffy noises about the importance of expressing oneself in more than 140 characters, and complain that the medium is somehow infantilizing. (I'm continually impressed at how broad the demographic appeal of hating Twitter is.)

Unfortunately, I just don't see the merit to this view. First, there's nothing easy about expressing oneself in short bursts. The well-crafted tweet gets to the heart of the matter in one sentence. (As the aphorism has it, "sorry I wrote you a long letter; I didn't have time to write you a short one.) If you want to write more, write a blog post and tweet a link to it. Twitter is not making anybody stupid.

And if your Twitter feed is full of brain-dead celebrities and idiot one-liner manufacturies, then you're following the wrong people. Go follow some neat people in your city instead, or some mefites. Plenty of clever ones there.

I don't know why I'm taking the bait from an FPP blog post that's less than five paragraphs long, and doesn't present any evidence except for crankiness. The "hoops" that the author thinks so funny are exactly the reason that so many millions value Twitter: Short exchanges foster a different kind of casual communication, that goes a long way to augment the systems that were already in place. And if hashtagging was truly as unappealing as he finds it, it wouldn't have spread from Twitter and into the online and offline vernacular.

Twitter is what it is - among many other things, faintly absurd, sometimes maddening, and increasingly influential. But if you think you're the smartest person on Twitter, the one among millions who's figured out that everyone else is being duped while the rest of us drool on ourselves without noticing it, then I can only prescribe a restorative wedgie to clear the mind.
posted by bicyclefish at 1:44 PM on July 15, 2011 [24 favorites]


tommasz: I occasionally use hashtags on Twitter but nowhere else. I definitely see them used in other places, like Facebook, which makes no sense to me. Like when people use the @ thing to reply to comments here, it's just inappropriate.

Some twitter posts are automatically cross-posted to Facebook to increase "web presence" or something like that, and I'm sure other people physically copy their tweets to FB when they feel like others need to read something.

As for talking @ people, it's similar to how some people use IRC terms outside of IRC

/me slinks away now
posted by filthy light thief at 1:44 PM on July 15, 2011


t filthy light thief unless you read Jerkcity
posted by griphus at 1:46 PM on July 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


BicycleFish, the “value proposition,” you might call it, of Holovaty’s post is in the extended description: Will we look back in embarrassment at the time we wasted on Twitter? (He takes it as stipulated that we are indeed wasting our time.)

Sean M. Puckett’s observation above is another fair criticism of the Twitter era, I think.
posted by joeclark at 1:47 PM on July 15, 2011


I like using throwaway-joke hashtags, like mouseover text on webcomics, or the Onion editorial cartoons with the little picture of the cartoonist providing bonus commentary in the corner. I recognize not everyone finds them amusing, but pretty much everything I tweet is just me talking to myself anyway. #amirite #coolstorybro
posted by Metroid Baby at 1:51 PM on July 15, 2011 [6 favorites]


The most useful thing about # is finding tweets that are focused on a specific event or city. #airportcode is useful in my smallish city to find out about events and stuff that aren't necessarily in the paper or on the alt-weekly website.

Also good for finding comments on #conference or #sportingevent.

Faster than entering
title box/post box/tags box

or

content box/tags box

or

highlight word/right-click/set as topic
posted by Khazk at 1:52 PM on July 15, 2011


Hashtags are totally on my lawn and I would like them to go elsewhere.
posted by flaterik at 1:54 PM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Will we look back in embarrassment at the time we wasted on Twitter?

Will we look back in embarrassment at the time we wasted on BBSes?

Will we look back in embarrassment at the time we wasted on IRC?

Will we look back in embarrassment at the time we wasted on blogs?

Will we look back in embarrassment at the time we wasted on MetaFilter?
posted by Zozo at 1:55 PM on July 15, 2011 [8 favorites]


Cloud King - because it contributes to the fact that twitter has become a stream of barely human-readable mess. It's all insane abbreviations, @ and # symbols. It no longer even PARSES as english.
posted by flaterik at 1:56 PM on July 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


As a media junky who's read a bunch of articles about Twitter being the new way to read breaking news I honestly think that aspect of its usefulness is completely overblown, especially with the concept that the hashtags are useful. Not that conversational hashtags can't be fun or amusing, but the useful concept just isn't there for breaking news.

I've tried to use them for several major news stories - and this last one, the phone hacking/Murdoch story I've taken several hashtags and tried to use them every day this week, just to see how the communication is working. And it isn't. Day one of the story (the recent day one, this story has been going on since sometime around 2007 or earlier) you'd see journalists and a few insiders and folks in the UK using #now or #notw before it blew up into multiple hashtags. But by day 2 those tags were full of people posting jokes or pontificating (in the terse way of twitter) and there was little information or links to actual news. And then the links were ones that I'd already found after day one's linking. As a source of data it didn't work. What did work was to pick out of the first day's worth of twitter the people who were sharing facts and solid info and then add them to the list of people I followed.

So twitter's only going to be useful to you if you can use it to find people who are sharing info you find helpful or interesting, and as a news source it only works if you catch it on day one of the story. (Local news on a smaller scale is a different beast, unless national picks up on it or you live in a city.) Otherwise it's just millions of people trying to show you how clever they are, not realizing that most of them are making the same joke repeatedly. Sociologists and interpersonal communication scholars might love that sort of thing though.
posted by batgrlHG at 1:56 PM on July 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


Hash tags have, on occasion, been useful. At one conference I was using the event's hashtag to chronicle events, and this led to a few more contacts who added me and we eventually got to meet. Granted, it was a really-tech savvy conference, so it had the critical mass to happen.
posted by hellojed at 1:57 PM on July 15, 2011


#hashtag #youreit
posted by finite at 1:58 PM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


To really get your point across, use brashtags. If you're tweeting about horror films, use slashtags. If you're tweeting while high, use stashtags. If you're tweeting while crossing the street, use dashtags. If you're tweeting after injuring yourself, use gashtags. If you're tweeting about self-flaggelation, use lashtags.
posted by perhapses at 2:01 PM on July 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


I have made quite a few good faith efforts to use Twitter since it debuted, and they always end badly. IMHO, it just plain sucks as a form of communication, unless you are a rabid celebrity follower, or a breaking news junkie.

And now that everyone's hip to hashtags and retweeting, most tweets are like 50% keywords and citations. Plus, there's a pretty obvious race to the bottom with the increasingly baroque hashtags people are starting to put forward.

I expected better from Google. Son, I am disappoint.
posted by Aquaman at 2:10 PM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


My solution? All tweets expire after, say, 48 hours. You get an option to roll them over into a blog post somewhere, but otherwise they just go away.
posted by benito.strauss at 2:11 PM on July 15, 2011


#Metafilter: a great way to procrastinate from whatever your current assignment/project is.
posted by herbplarfegan at 2:12 PM on July 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Twitter is like a really cool horse saddle invented in the final days before everyone stopped riding horses and got automobiles.

I like this analogy, but what's our "automobile"?
posted by Pants McCracky at 2:12 PM on July 15, 2011


This thread's hashtag: #GOML
posted by desjardins at 2:13 PM on July 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


flaterik: "Cloud King - because it contributes to the fact that twitter has become a stream of barely human-readable mess. It's all insane abbreviations, @ and # symbols. It no longer even PARSES as english."

This is certain the case if you're only following Sarah Palin, but my feed looks nothing like that at all.
posted by brundlefly at 2:14 PM on July 15, 2011


Strangely, Twitter is reminding me a lot of Myspace these days- it's always trying to steer me towards various celebrities to get the latest HOT GOSSIP and I just don't give a shit.

Expect no less of Google+. For the past 3 days Felicia Day has been constantly showing up as my #1 or #2 "People You may Want To Follow" which is right smack on your screen. I couldn't figure this one out until I went to my +1 list and discovered that I had +1ed a Felicia Day google result while I was testing out how +1ing worked (and btw we seriously need some sort of fricking verb for "+1ing")

I deleted the post and no more Felicia. But I see that celebs are going to be pushed on you depending on what you favorite (???) on Google.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 2:16 PM on July 15, 2011


Pants McCracky: "Twitter is like a really cool horse saddle invented in the final days before everyone stopped riding horses and got automobiles.

I like this analogy, but what's our "automobile"?
"

Smartphones that free us from the archaic limitations of SMS.
posted by mullingitover at 2:16 PM on July 15, 2011


Metafilter: makes people feel like they can potentially be famous by being witty.
posted by chavenet at 2:21 PM on July 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Smartphones that free us from the archaic limitations of SMS.

If there's one thing the iPhone has taught us, it's that smartphones are awesome for long-form essay writing.
posted by verb at 2:24 PM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Strangely, Twitter is reminding me a lot of Myspace these days- it's always trying to steer me towards various celebrities to get the latest HOT GOSSIP

I saw this post on Twitter earlier today. While I cannot possible criticize Adrian since about 90% of my annual income is Django work, I'm thrown by the idea one might "feel duped" by Twitter. It sounds like a nerd/ coder reaction to something popular, but I think it's an amazing misreading of Twitter by restricting it to something that always involves hashtags. Twitter isn't a single thing, it's a medium. I've used Twitter to get updates from NASA spacecraft millions of miles away, to send updates about concerts, to get updates about news stories, to post error messages from applications, etc. It's not a monolithic thing. Hash tags represent an admittedly crappy way to apply meta information to tweets. Like tags or any other sort of meta data, it's a freeform attempt to deal with the complexity of human language. The fact hash tags don't perfectly solve the problem shouldn't be criticized, the fact a system adopted a grassroots method without trying to change it should be celebrated.

When The Next Better Thing comes along, I'll ditch Twitter. I'm not married to it. But the idea of feeling burnt by a medium seems so strange. It's 2011, but I don't feel burnt because I talked on landlines for 20+ years.
posted by yerfatma at 2:26 PM on July 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


Whyre yru tanking baout vreb? O cna tyep prefectly wlel n my smorgasboard.
posted by griphus at 2:26 PM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Twitter is chat, but asynchronous chat, and chat encumbered with two non-trivial tasks for anyone wanting to get the value out of it.

The first task is that your stream is only as good as the people you follow, and it takes time and work to find the people you want to follow. That's not as easy as you'd think it might be.

Similarly, the responses you get, and the conversations you have there are only as good as the work you put in to get people to follow you. That's an even harder and longer process.

People who are into Twitter have generally grasped these two nettles and come out the other side with a personalised set of followers/following that works for them. Great value follows.

People who hate Twitter usually completely ignore all the above and describe it in terms of non-sequiturs. Presumably they get some pleasure from that. I hope so, anyway.

Few people who have actually gone through the process of getting value from Twitter end up attacking it. Yet there are two obvious serious attacks to be made.

The first is, why should such a simple platform require so much work on the part of the individual user in order for it to become useful? This attack is rarely made because the value you get when you have put the work in to make it useful is so great that once you're there, you don't want to make the attack any more. You're busy.

This leads to the other attack - it's the worst fucking timesink ever invented.
posted by motty at 2:26 PM on July 15, 2011 [14 favorites]


I'm sure the kids are alright.

But if social networking is the Future of Everything, I'm going to have to sit it out. This is my technological Bridge Too Far.

You'll have your own someday, I expect.
posted by Trurl at 2:36 PM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


I hate Twitter. It's unreasonable but I do. I hate it because it makes me feel old: it's the first internet service that I genuinely don't get why people want to use it so much.

It's a great news summary source. Like "[your favorite author] just [did this thing] here's a link [URL]. You can get stuff from NASA, scientists, authors, literary magazines, the taco truck down the street. All streaming, all day. It's sort of like a personalized news ticker written (usually) by the people making the news. So that sort of adds to the fun.
posted by plexi at 2:45 PM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


motty: "Few people who have actually gone through the process of getting value from Twitter end up attacking it."

That's the magic of cognitive dissonance.
posted by mullingitover at 2:47 PM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


>Anybody remember classified ads?

Around 1983-84, when I was an impressionable young teen and PBS was running the Tom Baker Doctor Who episodes, the Phoenix New Times weekly was running free personal ads. It was like twitter in that you only had so many characters and people signed with their handles. Believe it or not, a flame war erupted there between the Whovians and the worst evil known to man, the Duran Duran fans. (I never sent one in, but ended up becoming friends with people who had.) I remember it going from one column and growing week after week until it took up 2 pages and they eventually started charging for it.
posted by Catblack at 2:54 PM on July 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


Predictions of Twitter's death by [insert favorite cause here] are greatly exaggerated. #MarkTwainRipoff
posted by blucevalo at 3:02 PM on July 15, 2011


Twitter is like a really cool horse saddle invented in the final days before everyone stopped riding horses and got automobiles.

The 140 character limitation may have originated in SMS, but it's proven to be one of the greatest strengths of Twitter: You have to learn some fucking brevity. There is no TL;DR. Now, as many have noted, that makes it utterly useless for an awful lot of things. Fine! Go write those longer-form pieces elsewhere, maybe post a link to Twitter if you want to. But a Twitter-equivalent without a very similar limitation on length would become unusable very quickly, because enforced brevity is what makes it possible to interact with a lot of people very rapidly while remaining asynchronous, which is Twitter's great strength.
posted by Tomorrowful at 3:03 PM on July 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


I follow almost 2,000 people on Twitter, and I am in the process of constantly pruning out people who consistently don't provide me with useful information. I mostly follow journalists. Thanks to Twitter, I was hip to Bin Laden's death well before the news stations and Obama's press conference, and I was in the crowd gathering at ground zero before it got crazy.

I think it's pretty useful.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 3:09 PM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


No relation.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 3:16 PM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Guys, you know we frown on multi-paragraph front-page posts, right? Not an actual hardcoded character limit but still a limit.
posted by LogicalDash at 3:49 PM on July 15, 2011


The New York Times' City Room blog is apparently now regularly covering Twitter with a cutesy hashtag-titled feature, "#trendingNYC". This seems like an excellent barometer of how tired and untrendy hashtags have become.
posted by RogerB at 3:50 PM on July 15, 2011


While I'm not opposed to tagging posts, the issue that Holovaty raises is essentially that he's too lazy to use Circles the way they're intended.

The whole point of circles is so that you can discuss, say, comics with your friends who care about comics but not to those who don't. G+ is attempting to better mimic IRL social dynamics with Circles. I don't go down the street shouting about comics, expecting that people who aren't interested will simply ignore me. Instead, I talk about comics with people I know are interested in them and I don't talk about them with people I know aren't likely to be interested.

Using hashtags on G+ seems, to me, either laziness or a misunderstanding of the medium.
posted by asnider at 4:06 PM on July 15, 2011


Hashtags are fine. The problem with traditional tagging systems is the interface, in that there is one at all. How much of a problem this is obviously depends on how much you've puttered around the web and how good the interface is. But considering that one of the advantages of tags is supposed to be the ease with which you can create and attach tags to your content—you just type them in, you don't have to pick one from a list or anything like that—it seems like hashtags represent the next step in the evolution of tagging.

My guess is the big reason why coder types might dislike hashtags is because it's literally mixing in the metadata with the content. That's supposed to be a big no-no, because how do you tell the difference without strict boundaries? And in some cases, that argument makes sense—if I say "The #1 reason why I hate Twitter is hashtags," I probably didn't mean to make "1" a hashtag. Largely, though, it's been a theoretical problem rather than an actual one. After all, if it were actually a problem, then Twitter clients (and the Twitter site itself!) wouldn't be able to magically link hashtags to searches for said hashtags.

The second guess for why people hate hashtags? They steal from your 140 characters, dammit! But that seems like a good reason for Twitter to drop hashtags, rather than a reason for Google+ to drop them.
posted by chrominance at 4:08 PM on July 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


The reasons the hashtags are in Facebook are because the posts were made on Twitter originally and the owner of the account set it up to post to Facebook simultaneously.

Now, wasn't that easy?
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:20 PM on July 15, 2011


Twitter could add a way to use hashtags and not count against your character limit.

But I don't see the 140 character as being limiting. I see it as simply being different. Every other place on the internet allows you amaze everyone with your wordiness. Twitters limits, make everything simple, fast, to the point, is a feature in my eyes. Take the limit away, and twitter isn't twitter.

In fact, if facebook had a character limit... I might find it more appealing.

I get some people don't like that. But why complain when you have blogs, and facebook, and now google+ (yes, I get that the main complain is about hashtags being used with google+).
posted by justgary at 4:22 PM on July 15, 2011


Hashtags can work on G+ *IF* it's used to easily add inline TAGS in the metadata as a future reference. Not as a content of a post, but where I can easily go back and find shit. On my LJ I use tags to help me find song title ideas I came up with. Right now there's no easy way to categorize content.

Right now I've seen some googlers using hashtags, and I think it's pretty stupid to do so if it's just going to be used like twitter, but if they expand on the architecture, use the hash as an identifier that "this next word should be pulled out of the main text and added to a side list of tags" then I'm all for it.

There's a LOT of issues that G+ does that is too ripped off of Twitter and FB and while people who use those services come to G+ and think OMG THIS IS AMAZING! People who've used LJ find that it's much less powerful (at least, IMO) for content creation.

It's still geared toward the "Stream" concept as opposed to ... Whatever blogs and LJ are.

justgary- Facebook DOES have a character limit: 420 characters. If that's your limit to tl;dr then I feel sorry for our society. The do let you bypass the limit by letting you write a longer entry as a "note" but in the main entry form it's 420 characters.

I can't remember though - do FB comments have 420 char limit? For some reason I'm thinking comments don't (which is really stupid, if you ask me) and by the way...

how many characters did I use just now?
posted by symbioid at 4:47 PM on July 15, 2011


If I wanted to see hashtags, I'd be on twitter. If I wanted stupid short 140 character ADHD flits of vapid commentary and links. I'd be on twitter. If I wanted to see people try to write a whole blog a sentence at a time in 140 characters or less, I'd be on twitter (Yes, I *have* seen people try to basically BLOG on twitter!)

I think part of the problem is people are so underexposed to what possibilities are out there. Their universe mostly consists of twitter and fb, and there's whole realms of forums (mefi, anyone?) personal blog software/sites/communities... But because FB and or Twitter were a lot of people's exposures to the form (in one way or another) this is what they expect, and I think it's hurting us. Now get offa mah lawn.
posted by symbioid at 4:51 PM on July 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


I've never got the point of hashtags besides it taking away one more character in the 140-character limit. I mean, if you're looking for people that are discussing "foo" in their tweets, wouldn't you just search for "foo" on twitter instead of searching for "#foo"? If you only search for "#foo", won't you miss a lot of tweets talking about "foo" which doesn't include the hashtag "#foo"?
posted by gyc at 4:54 PM on July 15, 2011


This is sort of off-topic, I suppose, but can someone who has used Google+ tell me whether it has a 'reply' feature that allows person B to reply to messages that person A has sent to one of his Circles containing person B?

If that's the case, who gets to see these replies (and to reply to the replies in turn)? Does the messaging stay within the Circle to which the original message was posted (even if people in that Circle have no explicit knowledge that they are in that Circle)?
posted by Anything at 4:59 PM on July 15, 2011


The first is, why should such a simple platform require so much work on the part of the individual user in order for it to become useful?

But the work isn't inherent to the platform, it's inherent to being a social person. If I went to a party full of cool people, I'm not going to become a well-liked person simply due to my physical presence. I have to actually, y'know, talk to people and have something interesting to say. I have to pick interesting people to talk to. Twitter is the exact same thing. If you have nothing to say, if you don't know how to interact with people, if you don't know how to find the interesting people, it's going to be boring for you.

Knowing how to do those things isn't magic; I've had a lot of sucky IRL social experiences where I was the wallflower, waiting for people to come talk to me, feeling like I had so much to say and no one cared to listen. Twitter's asynchronicity actually ameliorates this, because someone may respond to you hours later. Twitter levels the playing field - I can send a tweet to anyone and I actually have a chance at a response (hi @ZacharyQuinto!).

/steps off symbioid's lawn
posted by desjardins at 5:41 PM on July 15, 2011 [6 favorites]


Eh, hashtags are everywhere now, even in places where there is no need for them. This does not surprise me that they must infect everywhere, because Twitter does that anyway.

Look, if Twitter was just for news streams and posting links and notifying people that Stephen Fry is trapped in an elevator (at least so we can get him out of it), fine. If it morphed into blogging for people too lazy to write pretty much ever, I suppose for that it's fine. But now EVERYBODY does it. I think I need to start officially compiling my list of good writers who have flat out said, "I used to write long, thoughtful blogs and now all I do is tweet one sentence and... that's it, I don't want to write any more." THAT is what I hate about it. Wil Wheaton's one example I can tell you off the top of my head that recently said that. I know everyone hates John Mayer, but he realized Twitter was fucking up his ability to write, put his money where his mouth is, and quit that shit. So good for him.

Also, blogging one sentence at a time in reverse order doesn't work well on Twitter. For the love of god, go write something that requires some thought, somewhere else, then post a link to it there if you must. As someone already pointed out, blogs die because people tweet. I was delighted to see the age of blogging, I'm pissed that lazyass tweets on your cell phone ate actual lengthy thoughts.

I also hate that because "everyone is doing it," thus everybody HAS to do it. I keep using the word "social blackmail" because if you want any kind of business anything, you're gonna be forced to tweet. I've seen a damn Twitter feed for a business that cleans up after murders. WHY THE HELL DO THEY EVEN NEED SUCH A THING?!* And much as I despise it, I know damn well someone someday is going to make me start tweeting for business purposes, and then I'll be a hypocrite. Awesome.

I was listening to an interview with Laura Resnick the other day and she said she refused to tweet (nor would she blog, as that would take away from her writing novels). I wanted to yell YOU GO GIRL for that one.

* no, I'm not gonna dig it up for you, they didn't update it very much anyway. Under the circumstances, thank GOD they didn't.
posted by jenfullmoon at 5:53 PM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also, blogging one sentence at a time in reverse order doesn't work well on Twitter.

No one I follow does this. Stop following stupid people.
posted by desjardins at 5:56 PM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


learn some fucking brevity

learn some brevity
posted by the noob at 6:12 PM on July 15, 2011


learn brevity
posted by FelliniBlank at 6:13 PM on July 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


To me twitter is pretty valid, it's a messaging bus. If you want to use it for vapid witty updates more power to you. We use it in our business for alerts to our clients for service disruptions and changes. It's pretty successful, and a damn sight cheaper than SMS.
posted by the noob at 6:16 PM on July 15, 2011


brevity
posted by threeants at 6:29 PM on July 15, 2011


fuck 'a' twitter
it makes you think stupidly
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 6:36 PM on July 15, 2011


#damnkidsgetoffmylawn
#shouldgobacktousenet
posted by happyroach at 6:42 PM on July 15, 2011


desjardins: "Also, blogging one sentence at a time in reverse order doesn't work well on Twitter.

No one I follow does this. Stop following stupid people.
"

*quits Twitter*
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 7:27 PM on July 15, 2011


#snausages
posted by cjorgensen at 7:30 PM on July 15, 2011


The @ tag (even here on Metafilter) doesn't really bother me

"If you were a gentleman, I would speak to you. I was speaking @ you, sir." -- Rochefort
posted by kirkaracha at 7:33 PM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Tonight I used Twitter to offer a stranger a beer. It can't be all bad.
posted by desjardins at 7:36 PM on July 15, 2011


B
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:46 PM on July 15, 2011


Tonight I used Twitter to offer a stranger a beer. It can't be all bad.

It depends on whether or not you planned to actually honour your offer.
posted by asnider at 7:55 PM on July 15, 2011


2009-2011 will be considered "the missing three years" when many personal journals dried up and were replaced with tweets which are publicly neither archived nor searchable.

There's a LoC for that.
posted by BeerFilter at 8:02 PM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


#ShakesCane
posted by clvrmnky at 8:37 PM on July 15, 2011


Twitter is what you make of it. It's very simplicity is what makes it so versatile. I only follow people I really like, and only use it when I feel like using it, and therefore I like it.

Hashtags are incredibly useful when you are trying to follow news about an ongoing event that you are either at or interested in -- like a conference, for example. They are also useful for organizing group discussions about news as it happens. Sometimes people use the hashtag in silly ways just to be silly. Sometimes people take that silliness a little too far. Sometimes people develop a bad habit of using the hashtag form in places outside of Twitter where it makes no real sense to do so.

It's not the end of the world though. I promise.
posted by BlueJae at 9:52 PM on July 15, 2011


Okay, its not it's. I swear it wasn't Twitter that made me abuse an apostrophe, though.
posted by BlueJae at 9:53 PM on July 15, 2011


Dear grumpy old internet man:

Hashtags have become part of the vernacular on their own, independent of any platform. Google "hashtag rap," which came out at least four years ago, for starters. #kids #lawn #PleaeGetOutOfTheNewOneIfYouCantLendAHandYourOldRoadIsRapidlyAging #AndTheseChildrenThatYouSpitOnAsTheyTryToChangeTheirWorldAreImmuneToYourConsultationTheyreQuiteAwareWhatTheyreGoingThrough
posted by drjimmy11 at 10:16 PM on July 15, 2011


It's a damn shame that Wiki nature has not proliferated. There are many valuable implementations of syntax and markup in the Wiki space.

WikiWords themselves are a more powerful tag and yet most tagging systems fail to implement strong CamelCase.

And how is that Semantic Web coming along?
posted by vicx at 10:43 PM on July 15, 2011


I'm just glad that, once again, I was entirely right about something. I feel…I don't know, almost God-like in my ability to judge something as good or bad, and to predict its success or failure. It just feels so damned good.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:42 AM on July 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


brevity

#soulofwit #Iwillbebrief
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 8:39 AM on July 16, 2011


Are Twitter, Facebook, Google +, Metafilter simply natural evolutionary stages of the internet as it connects us all in different evolving ways?

Perhaps the aforementioned channels will become increasingly less dominant, important, and controversial as we simply publish to those channels in ways like Tantek is doing with Falcon, or Chris Messina suggests will happen as Identity becomes the platform.
posted by specialk420 at 3:21 PM on July 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


just noticed that mefi's search box turns "#twitter" into "twitter." coincidence? I think not!
posted by josephtate at 12:51 PM on July 17, 2011


« Older This weekend, the busiest freeway in the United St...  |  This is just a fangirl with a ... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments