Some of you know me through my work in studying how social media and disruptive technology impact business and culture. Others have worked with me in translating insights into action and change within the enterprise. Every now and then, I share another side of myself that evokes the aspiring social scientist in me as I explore how all of this is affecting us as individuals and human beings.
Hashtags are to the social web what emoticons were to Web 1.0 and TXTing. While both are forms of expression and sentiment, there is one subtle, but vital difference. Hashtags are not only part of online culture, they are defining a new era of communication on the Web and IRL (in real life). With over 140 million Tweets flying across Twitter every day, hashtags surface a method to the madness – the ability to group conversations into an organized timeline. But what started out as a way to index conversations in Twitter has now substantially altered how people convey, relay and discover information in and out of the popular nichework. The hashtag has also become an effective form of #selfexpression.
There’s an old saying that I think about more and more as I study technology and its impact on behavior…technology changes, people don’t. But nowadays, I’m not so sure. I think technology is indeed changing and us along with it. Whether it’s through social networks or digital lifestyle products such as iPhones and Kindles, we are adapting and perhaps evolving as a result.