Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Is # a Punctuation Mark, Word, or Some Other Symbol?

Punctuation is changing. Or are words? Depending on how you google a topic, you will get different results by adding the hashtag. For instance, try #lovemusic then love music. The clipped communication world we live in creates a conundrum for disciples of semantics.

What does # mean? As of this date, Dictionary.com and Merriam-Webster won't touch it, and Oxford does, albeit with the old-fashioned meaning: The hash sign or pound sign, used as a symbol on a phone keypad or computer keyboard before a numeral , or to represent a pound as a unit of weight or mass

I think in internet language # means the whole wide world of whatever it is attached to.

Thanks to Twitter and its brethren websites, we keep adding subtleties to the meaning, or sense, of words and symbols. Think about the layered meanings of ๐Ÿ˜‰,๐Ÿ˜Š, and๐Ÿ˜ž, among many other emojis. In communication between two close friends, one of those emojis can have an entire paragraph of meaning. We intuitively know what these symbols mean, or at least think we do. We are not making the machine more intuitive; we are becoming the machine.