A Pound Sign By Any Other Name

Remember when Prince decided to change his name to some unpronounceable symbol? And then he was “The Artist Formerly Known as Prince” and now I guess he’s Prince again? Same thing with John Mellencamp. John Cougar. John Cougar Mellencamp. Not to mention Puff Daddy, P. Diddy, Puff Daddy (and all apologies if I missed an iteration in there).

So I get it; things change, you just have to roll with it. But I do want to know when we started calling a pound sign a hashtag.  I mean I know how hashtags are used on Twitter; I’ve even come up with a few of my own, #cancerhumor kind of thing. But we used to call it a pound sign. Automated phone trees would tell you to press 0 and the pound key to reach the operator. If anyone had said press the hashtag key, we probably would have been confused. Does anyone know the precise moment when everyone in the world agreed that a pound sign is now called a hashtag? And why is hashtag cooler than pound sign?

Twitter is also changing everyone’s name. I can’t be Just Jill anymore, I have to be @jillfoerhirsch. And even though hashtag and @ are Twitter conventions, I notice people using it on Facebook as well. As in a status of: Hanging with @lucy and @ethel to watch @ricky and @fred at #pingpongmatch, #splainin, #spanglish.

I’m trying to keep up with the times here, but I’m starting to feel a little bit like @andyrooney. @olddeadguy #restinpeace #unibrow #earhairtoo #nowonderhewascranky.


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12 Responses to A Pound Sign By Any Other Name

  1. I’m just going to rename myself #hashtag

    That might mess with people’s minds and really confuse my twitter followers!

  2. Pam Waits says:

    Here, here! I remember when these @#%$ symbols used to mean something important!

  3. mimijk says:

    I’m with Kate! I loved that skit and nodded at the lunacy throughout – around us my friend you can be Just Jill (or Just Fabulous Jill)…

    • Jill Foer Hirsch says:

      I just looked up that skit and watched it again, what a hoot! I think Just Fabulous Jill suits me Just Fine!!

  4. Myrna Rubenstein says:

    Um…I remember when what you call the pound sign was the symbol for the word “number”.

  5. Lisa says:

    #dontgetiteither #iamsoold

  6. katecrimmins says:

    Did you see the skit with Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake on talking using hashtags in everyday conversations. Hilarious. I took me a long time to “get” the a hashtag was and I am not sure why we changed a one syllable word to a two syllable word.

    • Jill Foer Hirsch says:

      That rings a bell, I think I might have seen it. LOVE Jimmy Fallon, but yes, scratching my head about the whole pound sign thing.

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