The Art of the Self-Mocking Hashtag

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In this Sunday’s Boston Globe, I take a look at how hashtagging has become the perfect vehicle for self-directed sarcasm, used by celebrities and common folk alike. Take a look at how a pro does it: the tech-savvy actor Wil Wheaton (who began earning geek cred back when he played Ensign Wesley Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation) recently tried to link to pictures of himself on the set of The Big Bang Theory. After he gave the wrong link, he tweeted, “I love that I’m trying to be all clever, and then I epic fail at basic linking. #lessonsinhumility #facepalm #hashtag.” (If his use of “epic fail” seems unusual, check out my On Language column and Word Routes followup on recent transformations of fail.) Wheaton uses the self-effacing “#lessonsinhumility” hashtag, followed by “#facepalm” (“the act of bringing one’s palm to one’s face to indicate embarrassment, exasperation, or despair,” says Wordspy), capped off by a meta-ironic touch, a “#hashtag” hashtag.

The rest of this article is fascinating reading for language & infosci geeks like myself, and the mention of Wil Wheaton didn’t hurt.

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