Amy Balmuth Not long ago, I read an article in the New York Times magazine titled #InPraiseOfTheHashtag (click on the hashtag to read it). It opened my eyes to what such an insignificant pound sign could represent: human ingenuity, progress and the ever-adapting English language. Written by Julia Turner, it goes on to describe the various uses of the hashtag (link a tweet to a significant event, the ability to search similar tweets), eventually glorifying the most individualized hashtags with only one tweet attached as hope for the future of human thinking. The hashtag is not unfamiliar to the eyes of Latin students (and teachers, for that matter). Even those who have no desire to share the banalities of their everyday musings and possess a twitter account can be seen complimenting their Facebook posts with the a “#justsaying.” And with good reason, for the New York Times magazine article explains the hashtag as a burgeoning literary device and useful device for shaping conversation. These sentence appendages are not just desperate attempts at wit or relevance—on the contrary, they can reveal further insight into the anatomy of an idea. As students, for the most part, our writing requires ideas. Whether an literary analysis or HUSH DBQ (#longliveAPUSH), we are assessed on our ability to understand and return information. The monotony of this never-ending task can sometimes be overwhelming.  However, even if one subscribes to the idea that there are no new ideas—there are always new hashtags. It is undeniable how much richer a history paper could be should it include the hashtag “#momoneymoproblems” when discussing Andrew Jackson’s killing of the bank. Sure, it may appear slightly juvenile.  However, the humor leaves additional insight on the matter—Jackson’s paranoia over the bank of the United States is only a further reflection on America’s obsession with monetary wealth that still persists today. Beyond the idea of ideological relevance is that of sheer convenience. In a timed essay, conveying linked ideas through a hashtag would save time and show a scholarly sophistication in a student’s ability to relate events. For example, in an AP European history essay, when explaining the causes of 19th century population boom, the sentence could read: Europe’s population grew due to the agricultural revolution and improvements made to food production #watermeadows #croprotation #turnips.” Likewise, in an English essay hashtagging #metaphor or #metonymy is sure to save the writer a good 30 seconds, otherwise known as exam gold. Surely, the battle will be long in attaining hashtaggery for school papers. Perhaps it’s futile, since we got this far without them. But maybe the beauty of the hashtag is that it is ever evolving and ever wishing to fit our needs. It’s up to us to shape the future of the hashtag—hashtag wisely, my friends, for with great trending comes great responsibility.]]>