Instagram Hashtags explained!

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Ok, so there are many people who use Facebook that super hate the hashtags I post via Insagram –> Facebook. In defense of my hashtags, here’s what traditional Facebookers don’t get — the hashtags actually have a useful purpose to those of us who spend a lot of time on Instagram, as opposed to being there just to annoy everyone on Facebook that a) find very little use for them and b) haven’t gotten used to the markup because they don’t use Instagram.

For those of us who have somewhat moved on from Facebook and pledged our lives to Instagram, there are three distinct uses I find for hashtags.

1) Quicker typing: Instagram caches all hashtags previously used so when I want to describe my photo with previously used words (and there are often words that I like to repeat because they are relevant, i.e. the name of my band, a restaurant or bar I frequent, the name of the city that photo was taken in, etc), all I need to do is type ‘#’ and a few letters that follow the pound sign and the word pops up. I have found that this method drastically improves the time it takes to place a caption on my photo.

2) Connecting with other photos/users on Instagram: When I use relevant hashtags to describe my photo, it allows me to look up photos of other users who have also used that same hashtag. Any time I hashtag #ladymurasakiband or #ladymurasaki, it pulls up photos for my band. When I hashtag #vintageschwinn, it pulls up photos of other people who own a vintage schwinn bicycle, which is very interesting to me. When I eat out at a nice restaurant, I hashtag #gourmetdining because I’m curious to see what other beautiful culinary experiences others are having in the world. #SLC is important to me because I love Salt Lake City and want to help promote an image of a vibrant, art/music culture that I regularly have an opportunity to experience in this small but up-and-coming city. When I went to the #flaminglips concert at the #TwilightConcert series, I found hundreds of photos posted that day by fellow #SLC-ites and not only enjoyed perspectives from multiple angles but also realized that so many of my friends were also there.

3) Humor: #whenyoumakeupwordsitsfunny. I have a lot of friends on Instagram who just make up hashtags that no one is ever going to look up, but the act of pretending to make up a word by stringing a bunch of words together is funny. We’re basically laughing at ourselves for our hashtag culture.

I think the hashtag ‘hatred’ mainly comes from a cultural discrepancy. The hashtag is a very important feature in the Insagram culture, whereas until recently, there were no uses for the hashtags for those who only used Facebook (and still makes no sense to many). If you used twitter, it made sense but once again, not much to be said for Facebook-only users. Since Instagram has become available to both the iOS and Android platforms, as well as Facebook’s purchase of Instagram thus further integration between the two apps, the Instagram culture has become increasingly prevalent in the world of Facebook, and the Facebook-only-ers hate it!

To play devil’s advocate, I have friends who suggest I post the hashtags in the comment line of my instagram so that when I post the Instagram to Facebook, the hashtags do not transfer over. Ok, that seems like a reasonable suggestion; however, going back to my bullet 1), the point is to spend as little time on placing a caption and getting the photo out to the world. This is how it’s done in the Instagram culture, so need I double my captioning effort in order to accomodate the Facebook peeps? 

At the end of the day, this is my conclusion – I post the photos to Facebook because I want to share the photo with my friends/family who are only on Facebook as well, but I do not feel it necessary to adjust my captioning methods, which are highly useful and effective to me and are perfectly acceptable and relevant in the Instagram culture, to accomodate those who have not fully assimilated into the Instagram culture. It’s like if I were to share my home-made miso soup with you and gave you chopsticks to eat with it (because that’s how miso soup is consumed in Japan) and you’re getting mad at me for eating with chopsticks. I still want to share my miso soup with you, but I’m not going to change the way it’s eaten just because you don’t know how to use chopsticks and get frustrated with it.

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About ambertaniuchi

I'm a 30 something Japanese female living in Salt Lake City, Utah. I grew up in Japan but also consider Hawaii my home. I am a QA Engineer by day but rock 'n' roll in a band called Lady Murasaki by night. I love all things vintage, gourmet and scotch, scotch, scotch. See these links for our music and FB. ladymurasaki.bandcamp.com https://www.facebook.com/ladymurasakiband
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One Response to Instagram Hashtags explained!

  1. A W says:

    #hahahathisisageniuspost #lovethemisowithchopstickcomparison

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