Hashtags as Social Networks

Today morning, after I came across Fred Wilson's post announcing his portfolio company Kik's launch, I went back to my older writings I had posted on #hashtag in my company's Yammer page. I had written,  
#hashtag is the contextual frame which liberates the message (or content) from its medium. I love twitter precisely for this reason because it skirts close to the mysterious ways in which we humans derive meaning from information. Sometimes, when you sit and observe the torrentuous streams of conversations happening about various topics, it fascinates me to see how a certain message which was enveloped in one context jumps onto a different plane of meaning altogether just because somebody has shifted the context using this innocuous symbol containing stack of sticks.
When Hashtags are seen from the lens of the contextual frames, Kik's idea of Hashtags-as-social networks makes complete sense. It adds the necessary bells and whistles needed for hashtags to lead an ephemeral social life thriving solely on the interest it generates among its users.

It was not long ago when Chris Messina wrote a blog post in 2007  suggesting using hashtags for the first time in Twitter. As Marshall McLuhan had rightly predicted long before, we began to use hashtags with behaviors we picked up unconsciously from the older media days. 

Reading their blog, it becomes clear ( for now) how the founders of Kik perceive hashtags. Unlike other social networks which let the users use hashtags as "mini-broadcasts",they want it to be, in their founder's words, "doorways to new conversations, of which you can be a real part — personal, intimate, social".

Can hashtags live ephemeral lives across social network silos? How can we re-imagine hashtags as brokers of meaning? It will be worth exploring. 

Thus begins an attempt to write a blog post in one shot. Inchoate thoughts in one shot. 

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