Saturday, February 28, 2015
Your Brain on Hashtags
By Mel Carriere
This is your brain.
This is your brain on hashtags.
I think most of us are old enough to remember that old anti-drug message from the late 80s, when the word hashtag had not made it into common usage yet. It was only last year, in fact, that the term hashtag found its way into the Oxford English Dictionary. So why does my spell checker keep underlining it? If hashtag is good enough for Oxford I think it's a little presumptuous of the spell checker to keep telling me it's not a word.
Bit even though the original campaign associated with the above slogan had nothing to do with hashtags, the effect on mental performance is essentially the same. Even if people are not dulling their brains with drugs, they can certainly dull their thought processes with hashtags, and extensive hashtag use may even be worse. I mean, you can come down from drugs and still function on the job and in society, but once you get started with hashtags it's really hard to get your brain back to where it can work on its own.
This dude you see above was having a real problem thinking for himself, and after his doctor sent him in for an MRI they found out he had an enormous hashtag lodged in his cerebral cortex. They also diagnosed him with an inoperable case of "Twitter Finger," a condition in which the index finger gets whittled down to a pencil-like point by repeated punching of the tiny "favorite" and "retweet" icons. The doctors said that if this poor sap had reported the problem earlier they might have been able to cut out the hashtag before it got serious, but as it was it metastasized and invaded his entire brain. Now he can't even go to the bathroom without someone hashtagging him through it.
If you've been on Twitter long enough, you know that people don't even use real words in their 140 character thoughts anymore, they simply attach whatever hashtags may be acceptable to whatever circle of friends they run with or whatever ideology they have attached themselves to. Ideology is a wonderful thing because it relieves one of the responsibility of coming up with a uniquely individual personal philosophy, which requires far too much time for quiet contemplation. Nobody has time to contemplate anything these days when there are all these intoxicating, hypnotizing, tantalizing, mesmerizing screens everywhere to distract our attention.
Hashtags have made the world even better because brainwashing yourself with someone else's ideology doesn't even require one to memorize any lengthy, dull, formulaic maxims, like in your mother and father's day. All you need is to remember the appropriate handful of hashtags and you are good to go. Actually, you don't even need to memorize the hashtags if you don't want to. Just keep them stored in the memo pad on your phone and you can copy-paste from there, like I do.
If you run with the lefties you can pull out hashtags like #UniteBlue, #NetNeutrality, or #StopRush, and you are guaranteed immediate acceptance without ever having to enunciate a complete sentence on your own. On the other hand, if your buddies sit across the aisle with the older, stodgier old money types, or are only over there because they are sucking up to get good jobs after graduation, hashtags like #ocra, #Benghazi and #BlameObama can get you some really good tee times at places where a working stiff like you has no place being.
Just remember not to try and make up your own hashtags. Not only is this considered unorthodox, schismatic behavior that does not conform to the strict dictates of doctrinal purity of whatever ideology suits your fancy, but there is absolutely no need to vex your tired brain in this fashion. Somewhere up in the cloud there is a great hashtag-making thinking machine to do this for you, and if you're lucky like the guy in the picture up there, and let's face he really is the lucky one because he really gets it, sooner or later the hashtags will dull your senses into oblivion and you'll have plenty of time for other things.
Image is from imgkid.com, with a little tweak by me.
The combustible mixture used in The Truth Bomb includes a generous portion of java from Starbucks and other corporate coffee conglomerates, and none of this is cheap. Therefore, unless the ads to the right and above complete annoy and offend you, please investigate what my sponsors have to say.