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WTF, Internet? Keep your hashtags out of my real-life conversation

what is a hashtag wtf interne jcpenny

There’s a lot of overlap between our social lives and social media. It’s only natural: When you spend much time sitting at a computer or staring at a smartphone, there’s bound to be plenty of experiences that sort of blend between the real world and the virtual one.

And that’s okay – usually. I’ll tell you what’s not okay: Saying “hashtag” out loud.

This horrible phenomenon took root within the last couple of years, and it only seems to be getting worse. Case in point: JC Penney.

I’ve got no beef with JCP. It’s a perfectly respectable store that I have some fond childhood memories of as one of the few “regular” shops we went to for back-to-school shopping that carried uniform-friendly clothes. It’s not particularly flashy or hip, but that’s fine. They make clothes, they sell clothes.

There’s something to be said for that, because the last thing this world needs is another brand screaming “Look! We’re trendy! We’re with it!” at the top of their lungs, competing with weird, irrelevant Twitter campaigns or creeptastic Facebook ads.

But alas, JCPenney has succumbed. The store recently gave customers $10 to $25 off their purchases if they say the word “hashtag” at check out.  It was announced via this abomination.

It’s a reference to the Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake sketch … in which they take many punches at people who say “hashtag” in real life. Because it’s horrible.

Saying hashtag out loud is a crutch; it’s basically a preface alerting everyone around you: “Hold up gang, I’m about to say something that is so dry and pointless on its own that I’m going to tack on this weird signifier!” If you say “hashtag,” I basically know it’s OK for me to stop listening.

You think it attaches you to everything obvious about whatever topic you’re talking about. “Hashtag, parents, amirite?” is supposed to mean “I am making a statement about parents that we as a society identify with because of our similar backgrounds. By saying ‘hashtag,’ I am building off of these preconceived notions and making a joke about the things we all know to be true about them. Enjoy!”

If what you’re about to say is so vague and meaningless that you feel the need to attach the spoken hashtag to it, it’s probably not worth saying at all. Hashtags have become a horrible convention we lean on to sarcastically add commentary to our reactions or feelings … except they’re so artless it just immediately bums everybody out.

It would make zero sense to type out “hashtag” on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram.

It’s not entirely your fault, though. Everything comes with its own hashtag package: Sporting events, TV shows, albums, brands, restaurants. You’re encouraged to use hashtags, and you see them everywhere. In our small, stupid brains, tweets are confused for talking, Facebook posts for conversations. You feel like these typed, screen-trapped confessionals are real, and thus, saying hashtag out loud just works its way into your subconscious until one day … you say it out loud.

Sure, we can blame that all-encompassing thing called “the media” for subverting our autonomy and planting hashtags in our brains. We’ve been trained that being users yields rewards. But JCPenney took it all incredibly literally by offering cash for hashtags. That’s some reinforcement right there. That’s like telling a crack addict that you’ll give him some heroin next time he smokes crack. He’s already addicted! Why are you trying to push him deeper into ruin!?

At this rate, with actual, dollar rewards to be had for debasing ourselves, the out-loud hashtag will never die. We will become a people who don’t string together sentences or explain ourselves. We won’t express anything or verbalize reactions. Our language will be a series of exchanges composed of spoken hashtags followed by phrases like “that just happened,” “yikes,” and “yolo.”

Think about it: It would make zero sense to type out “hashtag” on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram. The tool would lose its purpose.

The same applies to the real world. It’s time to retire the out loud hashtag; you all had some fun. But gather up your remaining dignity and let it live online and online alone. Some things just aren’t meant to exist IRL.

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Molly McHugh
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Before coming to Digital Trends, Molly worked as a freelance writer, occasional photographer, and general technical lackey…
WTF, Internet? Technology is trying to make us even fatter than we already are
feedme delivery aggregator wtf internet online food

If you are, like me, a United States citizen, then you, like me, are aware that we are a nation of fatty fat fatties. Seriously, we like our fast food and we like it super-sized, greasy, and on the regular.
The Internet just goes hand-in-hand with this gluttony. I'm a healthy person who runs every day and drinks the appropriate amount of water, but there's something about a a Netflix-binge while trolling Reddit AMAs and GIF blogs from my laptop that makes me want an impressive amount of Taco Bell (Crunch Wrap Supreme and two Meximelts no pico sauce, please and thanks!) laid before me. Heaven is some multi-screen overdosing accompanied by fourth meal, I swear.
So while I won't judge you souls who want an infinite supply of Mountain Dew to accompany your hours-long COD sessions or a jumbo supply of Sour Patch Kids to absentmindedly eat while you stare at your online homework, I will call out the suppliers who are preying on our salt and sweet cravings with yet more technological bait.
To wit, Chili's has tested tabletop tablets so that you can keep on ordering even if your waiter or waitress is otherwise occupied.
Yes, there is a convenience factor: You can immediately order and pay without human interaction, so after shoveling mozzarella sticks and a Triple Dipper into your mouth - salad on the side - you can get the eff outta there (to go buy a lifetime supply of Tums).
I promise, I will consume your terrible foods, no need to shove a tablet under my nose to make it easier.
But - shockingly - the idea is also to get you to buy and thus eat more of the product. It's like little kids with those iPhone games; $20 for a new sticker? I want seven! According to a report, Chili's execs said "dessert sales increased by as much as 20 percent" and a jump in the per-person average of the checks.
Because who needs social shame when they want to order that second brownie sundae?
The most famous purveyor of fast food burgers, McDonald's, is testing a new mobile payment app so that you can order your meal before even going through the drive-thru. Then, you can just drive-thru and pick up food.
Because who has time to wait 30 seconds for a bag of burgers?
In perhaps the most ambitious ploy of them all, Burger King is testing a delivery service in select areas. Customers can order online or by phone between 11 a.m. and 10 p.m., as long as you're buying at least $10 worth of BK (which is a lot of BK). Apparently it's boosted sales.
Because who wants to actually leave their house after a bout of day drinking and subsequent craving for The King?
I'm not preaching some crazed message that we should all shop at Whole Foods and cut out carbs and do crossfit (ugh) and do the whole paleo diet thing (also, no, never ever ever ever). I'll be completely honest: It's 10 a.m. and I'm eatingchocolate covered gummy bears - because I'm writing this article and working, and having something to mindlessly gnaw on is part of the creative process (I'm pretty sure, look it up).
But that's the problem. There are, oh I don't know, say a million different things that are already there to encourage me to eat horribly. I already look at a screen enough, OK? I promise, I will consume your terrible foods, no need to shove a tablet under my nose to make it easier.
Easier, and more discreet. The subtle shame of having to say out loud "I would like... four Whoppers" is gone if you order online and get delivery. That third sugar-laden appletini might be embarrassing, but if you can tap your way there, then by all means, get yours!
Maybe some barriers are OK to have. If you want these foods - or a superfluous amount of them - you have to have the balls to own up to wanting them, not hide behind an app. It's the only thing separating us from the human society in Wall-E, right?
Let's just save a tiny ounce of self-respect. This is why we're hot fat. 

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WTF, Internet? Why do Twitter’s ‘verified’ users get nice things and we don’t?
wtf internet why do twitters verified users get nice things and we dont twitter

There are two types of people in this world: The verified and the unverified. Those lucky souls Twitter chooses to bestow that little blue mark upon are on a whole other level than us normals; they are those of the paid-to-tweet variety, those called "social-media experts" who fought their way to 25,000+ followers, those whose fame lands their tweets in weekly "celebrities say the darndest things!" round ups.
Just face it: They are the specials, and our hilarious and insightful Twitter musings will go unnoticed in their shadows. Now Twitter is giving them yet more power: The ability to ignore the rest of us!
We're like the ugly stepchildren Twitter has to love and shelter but only because the state says so.

"We're be rolling out the ability for verified users to go to their Connect tab on the Web and toggle between mentions in three categories," Twitter says. "All, filtered, and verified."
"Selecting 'Filtered' will show mentions based on an algorithm we use to filter out spam, and choosing 'Verified' means they'll only see mentions from other accounts."
Twitter says this new feature is being rolled out to its favorite children because they're involved in such a large number of conversations. Humblebrag much?. "Ooooh it's just soooo hard being soooo popular! Help me Twitter, help me! Save me from my adoring masses!"
I'm no Twitter celebrity, but I would appreciate this feature, thanks for not asking, Twitter. My measly 1,751 followers spam the bejesus out of me, too. I'd love a tool that filters this out so I don't waste time trying to decide if @hle0xor8er is a real person or if that link is B.S.
Unfortunately, I'm neither a celebrity nor a politician; I don't own a ridiculously cute pet or tweet pictures of my unmentionables. I'm not smart enough to ever make that timely parody account first and try as I have might, my hilarious pieces of repartee with Twitter elite have never landed me a spot in any "the best responses to ___" listicles. Thus, I - like so many of you - am banished to the dark corners of Twitter.
We're like the ugly stepchildren Twitter has to love and shelter but only because the state says so. We don't get any special treatment; we get the hand-me-downs, months after The Verifieds have enjoyed wearing them out.
Honestly, I don't even want that little blue check mark anymore - I just want the same treatment! Tear down this wall, Mr. Costolo, and give me a filter so I can ignore spammers, too! Because honestly, I don't have enough energy to care about getting 25,000 followers.
Furthermore - it's the principle of the thing! (Why yes, I did just indignantly stand straight up, pointing my index finger for emphasis - which is what anyone is required to do when saying, "It's the principle of the thing.") Twitter is constantly selling itself as the public square, where everyone is welcome to participate,true democratic discussion in action!
Now there's a caste system, because you just introduced a feature so that verified users can sit atop their towers and ignore our pleas for but 140 characters of their attention. Here's an idea: If you don't want your fans to have quick and easy text-based access to you ... don't get a Twitter account! Isn't that the entire idea? Do celebrities and notable figures need a mass public communication tool so that they can talk to each other? Go use Google+, I swear, no one will find you guys.
The Verified can keep their special privileges and Twitter, it's OK: You can, deep down, love them more. Fine, secretly give them little benefits (which I imagine are things like satin Twitter logo team jackets with their handles printed on the back and invitations to secret parties in Jack Dorsey's underwater castle), but don't publicly insult all of us by rolling out features to them first.
I will resort to whining: It's just not faaaaaaaaair.

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WTF, Internet? Babies don’t need to define their ‘brand’ on Twitter
WTF Internet 09_08_2013 main

I will admit it: I'm one of them. Those negative, cynical people who are sick and tired of seeing their social feeds dominated by your damn baby. Unless I personally know said damn baby (my Godson gets a pass, as do select children whose parents I consider near and dear), I just don't care.
I tried to care. I tried really hard. But I rarely do.
I don't care that it was born, or that it had a first meal, or trip to the pumpkin patch, or haircut. But my generation grew up with Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at our disposal, just begging us to shareshareSHARE. Share it all! And parents take that invitation seriously.
To some extent, we all do. I overshare the things that are important to me and take up a significant amount of my time, too. That's why you see so many pictures of dogs and tailgating and beers on my Instagram.
It’s not babies’ faults their parents are attention-mongering sycophants.

Here's the difference: I realize how ridiculous it looks, and you should ignore it or make fun of it as you see fit. But if I make fun of the 18 identical photos of your infant, I'm the asshole. Sure, mock my Instagram of bottomless mimosa brunch! Please! But can I, in turn, pick on that picture where your kid sort of looks like a Gremlin? No? That's off limits? I call conflict of interest!
I know there's some backlash against the social media baby-hating trope - it's not babies' faults their parents are attention-mongering sycophants who can't keep their hands off their iPhone camera and haven't outgrown that crushing, all-consuming need for "Like" button reinforcement. It's not babies' faults that their folks just can't decide on one filter, so they decide on them all.
I can only barely withstand my feed being filled with status updates and photos of these babies, but at least these are the parents. My actual friends. People who are adults, that I speak to, and have a relationship with, are the ones who write and upload content.
But alas, the last remaining piece of sanity in the social-baby madness is flying out the door, because some jerkoffs (who are considered social media elite) are creating Twitter accounts for their infants.
And what do faux baby tweets... sound like, you ask?

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