Hashtag confusion: Thatcher? Cher?

Screen shot 2013-04-22 at 8.09.49 PMThe hashtag ( # ) is used as a way of grouping messages by subject, topic or group. It is used in social messaging services such as Twitter.

Earlier this month, a particular hashtag caused a great deal of confusion (and gave me quite a giggle).

It all started when, upon the death of Margaret Thatcher, the following hashtag began circulating: #nowthatcherisdead that’s “now thatcher is dead”.

However, fans of the infamous Cher, upon seeing this hashtag, had a meltdown. They read #nowthatcherisdead as “now that cher is dead.”

Tweets flew. “Cher’s dead?” “RIP”

Comedian Ricky Gervais cleared up the confusion with a tweet of his own.
He tweeted: ‘Some people are in a frenzy over the hashtag #nowthatchersdead. It’s “Now Thatcher’s dead”. Not, “Now that Cher’s dead” JustSayin.’

Perhaps some hashtags need capitals? JustSayin’ 🙂

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22 thoughts on “Hashtag confusion: Thatcher? Cher?

  1. I read a really good article awhile back (wish I’d saved it) about how hashtags are more than just ways to group tweets or Instagram photos. They create communities, according to this article. It said that unlike other social networks in which we create groups based on existing relationships, hashtags on Twitter allow people to come together globally based on common interests. It was a really cool article about the important roles that Twitter has played. Like the fact that we wouldn’t have known what was going on in Iran at first without Twitter because no media were allowed in, or how Tweets were used to organize protests in Egypt. It is more than just a social platform, in the articles and in my opinion. It is changing the way communities are built and the way news is dispersed. And, that’s just a tiny corner of what it does. I’ll stop for now 🙂

    • Great points, Tracy. The other day when all the news sources were following the chase for the Boston bombers, I found myself following the action on Twitter. I was amazed at how accurate much of what I learned was ….. many many minutes before it was reported on TV. I need to learn more about it ….

  2. That was funny! I guess the rules of grammar DO have some raison d’etre. hahha I read a short book the other day, dummied up version of Twitter for Dummies. I learned a few points, but I still struggle with Twitter for some reason.

  3. I just remembered that I ran an infographic awhile back on hashtags that is really informative. Here’s the link if anyone’s interested: http://iosaffairs.com/2012/08/06/twitter-hashtags-why-use-them/ There’s also a really good article about hashtags, how and why to create them, etc. It’s for Instagram, where they also use hashtags, but it is the same premise: http://instagramers.com/destacados/how-to-use-hashtags-in-instagram/ Good luck to everyone on the hashtag front.

    I really didn’t use Twitter much or understand it either until so many of my readers started following me that way, especially developers, and communicating with me that way. So, I had to learn to use Twitter better. Now, I don’t read or watch any news. I get all my news from Twitter. I follow the best journalists and news organizations in the world and get fabulous news coverage. Twitter is best understood when you just jump right in and start using it. Follow people who know and use Twitter well, and you’ll learn a lot.

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