Appropriation of the Pound Sign

#PoundSign. It’s a recurring joke in my general office endeavors, but there’s a part of me that really means it when I refuse the acknowledgment of the hashtag.

As many may know, the hashtag’s prominence has grown exponentially. Not just in a digital marketing/social media sense, but in routine usage in the English language. Its use within the walls of an integrated marketing agency has become the bane of my existence, an offensive reminder of changing times and lost days of yore.

I harken to simpler times when the presence of the # symbol merely told me that there was a number afoot, or that I needed to push that button on my phone to enter a series of digits and move to the next menu item. How I miss the clearly delineated usage of the capitalized 3 key on my keyboard before social media appropriated it.

It’s a harrowing ordeal to decipher the meanings of such simple symbols. Language has been cruel enough – deciding the differences between “Their, There and They’re” or “Two, Too and To”. I already have enough trouble understanding the meanings between the words homophone, homograph, homonym and heterograph, let alone trying to identify which groups of words actually mean what.

Solutions may be better left to those in higher technical places than me, but I can offer a suggestion that the axiom “what’s old is new again” just shouldn’t be. Social media, while new in general terms (but not by modern standards), should always push the cutting-edge. Stealing my pound sign to blurt out whatever thought comes to one’s mind is an underhanded misuse of symbol technology. Simply scroll through a list of available symbols in your favorite communication’s tool icon list and you’ll see hundreds, if not thousands, of unused collections of lines and figures.

The pound sign must return to its previous place of limited relevance and we must constantly demand the modernization of our social media platforms. Assuming that nobody else will fix it, I suggest using this thing: ~. I guess It’s about as good as any.


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