Twitter hashtag activism is completely useless.

Hashtags are great fun for quick-fire humour, like the running joke hashtags that always seem to take off on Friday afternoons when people are bored at work. That’s the sort of thing that shows Twitter at its best. But when it comes to dealing with sensitive and nuanced topics, the 140 character limit is worse than useless.

There’s little point singling out any one hasttag in particular, because every single one plays out the same way, and you get that sinking feeling the moment one appears and the usual suspects start using it. They start out with what usually comes over as self-righteous in-group signalling. Then comes the inevitable angry backlash from those who distrust the agenda of whoever it was that started the tag. It spirals down in an all-too-predictable fashion of insults and name-calling, splitting communities along existing faultlines and making everyone bar the hardcore culture warriors miserable. It’s Twitter at it’s very worst. If we’re really unlucky it ends with risible hack-written clickbait hitpieces on sites like Salon, Breitbart and The Guardian.

Since these hashtags achieve nothing other than sowing discord, the only sensible response is to shoot them on sight using a client that lets you mute hashtags.

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