TECH REPORT: Millions of consumers abandon #hashtag for backslash


SAN FRANCISCO— Sources confirmed Monday that millions of online users are becoming obsessed with emerging metadata symbol, the backslash (\). The hashtag (#), made popular by Twitter in 2009 and enabling even complete morons’ comments to appear in trending streams, is believed by many to have reached a saturation point.

According to clandestine, non-NRA-related reports from China, the first backslash usage appeared in an email by one J.K. Pickett, rumored to be an American of Italian descent.

Pickett, who does not work in technology, doesn’t own an iPhone, and is often left scratching his head when attempting to post photos on Facebook, first alluded to the backslash as he recounted a family incident to a confidante.

Key excerpts from the email tell a chilling backstory:

A few weeks ago my grandmother (age 87) threw me the hashtag symbol as I left her house and said “#dontbeastranger.”

Pretending not to be in shock, I simply smiled and said “ok I won’t Grandma” – but inside I was deeply disturbed. I didn’t sleep for days. I could barely eat. And I’m 25% Italian!

There she was, this sweet elderly woman, struggling with peer pressure and mainstream media’s attempt to popularize the hashtag. What she was really trying to tell me was that sometimes I’m a selfish Millennial who forgets to call or write or visit, but I was so thrown off by the hashtag in my face, her comment nearly lost its impact and ensuing feelings of guilt.”

He goes on to say:

I thought to myself: This shit ain’t right! There just has to be a better way for us to portray sarcasm and passive aggressiveness, or even things we are too scared to say out loud. Couldn’t she have just thrown up her arm, in the form of a backslash? I mean, anything but the hashtag. Poor Grandma.

Unbeknownst to Pickett, the confidante (whom he met during a charity event with lots of drinking involved) happened to be a former technology advisor to the White House and a computer sciences wizard despite her appearance as a dumb blonde.

Within minutes of the email reaching her inbox, she began testing the backslash among her social networking community of thousands, and it caught fire.

A couple examples of backslash utilization pulled from completely public forums:
(In a Facebook post) @JimFeinstein I really love that fact that your wife has taken a liking to me. She is just so great and I really appreciate her willingness to always help me with my garden since my wife passed away. \nothavinganaffair

(In a tweet)@juliesmith @socksforhisandher I really love your company’s customer service. \onholdforanhour

At press time, a search query for the backslash on social networking sites returned 7,389,389 results.


Submitted by: Rebekah Iliff


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About the author

Rebekah Iliff is a writer and the Chief Strategy Officer for AirPR. Previously, she was the CEO of talkTECH Communications, where she created an industry-first methodology for emerging technology companies which positioned talkTECH as one of the fastest growing, launch-only PR firms in the U.S. She is currently a contributing writer for Entrepreneur, Huffington Post, and PRWeek's "The Hub". Rebekah holds a B.A. in Philosophy from Loyola University Chicago, and an M.A. in Organizational Management and Applied Community Psychology from Antioch University at Los Angeles (AULA).

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