The French government is redefining hashtag with a Gallic touch. The country that has an academy devoted solely to the use of the French language has given its official seal of approval to a new word for the Twittersphere: mot-dièse.
For those of you not versed in the ways of Twitter, a hashtag is this little number-sign symbol — # — and when you put it in front of a word, it takes on several special functions, the chief of which is the whole term becomes searchable. The hashtag is a versatile little tool that lets you find posts on a certain subject or centered around a certain event. For instance, those who were are yesterday’s March for Life in Washington, DC could tag their photos and tweets with the #MarchForLife hashtag and…voila! There they are.
The funny thing, though, is that a hashtag has to be an unbroken string of letters, so mot-dièse could not, itself, be a hashtag. If you hashtagged (wait..how do you turn that French phrase into a verb?) the term, you’d get a nicely-broken tag that ended at the dash.
Lastly a hashtag isn’t a sharp sign, which is what mot-dièse actually means. This (♯) is a sharp symbol. A hashtag, which you probably also know from your phone as a pound sign, leans the other direction. Perhaps a better term in French would be mot de hachage which is the rough French translation of “hash word” though I don’t think that’s the right “hash”. Maybe we need to get some French social media nerds on the case.
(Photo Credit: Tom Rayner)
Category: Social Media Mastery