2013-02-08 / Columnists

Slice Of Life

# Pound Sign / Hashtag #Confused
By Beth Hanning

As a parent of two teenage girls and a high school teacher I try to stay technologically advanced. I enjoy using references in class that let the students think I am not so old. (Even though they do think I am ancient). They even get a bit insulted when I ignore their friend request on Facebook.

So it was when my older daughter wanted a Facebook page I also got one. I wanted to know what was going on and monitor her behavior. A few times I had to call her at Manhattan College and ask her to take down a photo that I knew when she was older she would think to herself, “Why did I ever post that?” I also get angry and annoyed texts, “Mom why did you comment on so and so’s photo?” The comment I usually made was one of a critical nature.

My involvement with Rockaway WISH made me somewhat of a Facebook expert.

I manage the organization’s page and learned how to create events, add pictures and really learned the power of social media. It is an amazing day when a school in the state of Washington sends you the results of their penny drive after finding us on Facebook.

In the last year I have ventured into both Twitter and Instagram. I have asked multiple times for my girls to explain the pound sign (#) underneath photos and on the bottom of the screen while watching television. They rudely respond to me, “Mom it is not a pound sign, it is a hash tag.” Then we argue for a few minutes as I explain when you call your flood insurance company for the 100th time and they want you to press a certain button, they call it a pound sign. “But mom it is different.” I just didn’t get it.

So always the student, I set out to get more informed answers than from my girls. According to the website .hashtags.org, the pound sign turned into a “hashtag” to bring order into the 340 million tweets a day. So if you are tweeting about a television show you would simply start it with #The Good WIfe and then write your response to that night’s episode.

So after I thought I was an expert I started to speak and text in “hashtags.” Some of my younger friends thought it was hilarious. So, I thought using it with my daughters would make me seem cool. But even though I have been a parent for almost 19 years, I cannot figure out what they think is cool. So when Megan texted me to remind me that she had off from school the other day I replied “#lucky.”

She texted me back, “Mom stop.” I replied, “#never.”

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