A question about hashtags

I thought the original purpose of hashtags on social media was to “catergorize” post/tweets/instragrams/whatevers and also to track what’s popular, or trending. So if I were to tweet “I hope Bernie and Hillary get married!!! They’d make a super cute couple! #presidentialelection2016,” and lots of other people were also creating tweets with the hashtag, “#presidentialelection2016,” then the twitter algorithm could determine that this was a popular topic. And maybe people could also search by “#presidentialelection2016” and see all posts with that hashtag?

But most hashtags aren’t very good keywords to the content of a post. Most of the times it’s something like, “Just had the best burger ever!! #Sundaymorning #grillmaster #deadcow #lovemygirlfriend” or something.

So did I miss the point of hashtags entirely? Or have they gone astray from their original intent?

The latter is an example of using hashtags ironically. They are still used for their original intended purpose.

I think of it as a way to introduce sotto voce commentary in a way that distances the comment from the speaker but not really in the way people will sometimes cough a rude word but not try particularly hard to make it sound like a cough.

Your initial assessment is entirely accurate. But then, like Inner Stickler says, they are also often used as footnotes or asides, which is a great way to append a zinger to a joke. I do that a lot.

In fact people who don’t do that, and instead jam their tweet with so many relevant hashtags it makes it hard to read, are overdoing the correct usage. Sometimes using them incorrectly gets your point across better.

I think that the purpose of hashtags is to make it easier to ignore everything that precedes them. #pointlesscontent

or #corrrections #sarcastically.