PC Doctor January 18, 2019

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Dear PC Doctor:

My wife convinced me to start using Facebook to stay in touch with family. Of course, all the kids have stopped posting, but that’s not my question. I see a lot of people using the number sign (#) all the time. What the heck is that? Is there something I’m not getting? It looks dumb and makes stuff hard to read.


Plain English

Dear Plain English:

What you’re seeing are hashtags! They’ve been around for a while, even entering the official Scrabble dictionary back in 2014.

A hashtag is any word (or group of words written without spaces between them) immediately preceded by a pound or number sign (#). On social media, hashtags work like searchable keywords, or subject headings in your library’s catalog. It’s a way of categorizing your content and making it discoverable by others.

Say you’re posting on your social media account about a great event you attended locally. You can put a hashtag before the name of the venue, the artist, or the topic, and then people interested in those things or located near you could do a search for that hashtag (topic) and would see many relevant or related posts. Try doing a search for #athol on your social media accounts and you’ll get a sense of this.

I hope this clears things up a bit!

Until next time,
Happy Computing!

PC Doctor

Editor's Note: Questions should be directed to PC Doctor, care of the Athol Public Library, info@athollibrary.org or Athol Public Library, 568 Main St., Athol, Mass. 01331, or dropped off at the library.