What Happened to my Number Sign?

Maybe it’s because I grew-up before computers and cellphones, but growing up this symbol # was called a number sign or a pound sign.  Recently, I’ve noticed the prevalence to use the word “hashtag”, I don’t remember when the change occurred, but I would say it was about the time twitter became commonplace.

According to Wikipedia, in America and Canada the symbol is called number sign or pound sign and had it’s origins from the telephone, and was a carry over from shorthand for the actual weight in pounds.  Interesting, because the UK uses the word pounds for money, they refer to the symbol as a hash.  So once again we find ourselves looking at to countries separated by a common language!

I feel the switch from the traditional, number sign, to the more verbose “hashtag” slang is just another step towards me becoming an old man.  Being born in the mid 60’s makes me the leading edge of the so-called Generation X.  And while I don’t have anything really in common with the baby boomers, I also don’t fit the mold of a typical Gen X’er.  Most days I feel like a younger version of my parent’s generation.  Proud of my country, conservative, polite, and untrusting of my government.  I’m also slow to adapt to new technology, but once I do take it under wing, it uses it to it’s full extent.

For example.  In college, it was rare to use a computer, but but the time I went to Grad school, most of my assignments were required to be turned in on 3.5 floppies.  Grad school is also where I learned the great distinction between PCs and MACs – and I fell in love the the ease and eloquence of the Macintosh personal computer.  Today there are apple laptops, iPads, iPods and iPhones throughout the house. (not to mention the appleTV that we haven’t even started to explore!)

So while I have a camera in the phone, I only use it out of convenance, when I want to shoot good pictures, I break out the digital 35mm.  I want to feel like I have a camera in my hands, I like the weight, the touch, even the false shutter sounds that harken back to my boyhood shooting on real film.  I rarely shoot “selfies” and find the selfie-stick to be a sad sign of our times.  This generation is walking though life, taking pictures of themselves, but they will have no idea where they where, since all the photos will be of their faces!!  I just don’t get it.

Recently, the wife and I travelled to Eastern Germany on a river cruise.  I shot over 1000 photos, and I’m finding very few pictures of myself!  Lots of buildings, landscape and some oddities (like extreme close-ups or patterns) and a few of the people we travelled the river with.  All of this picture taking was done with the cannon rebel EOS, using two lens, a 30-55mm and a macro 80-300mm.

To bring it all back around, why is my number sign no a hashtag?  Is it just hip to use the wrong term, is it an invasion like the use of the SI system instead of the more practical imperial units?  Well whichever it is, I will never bow. # is a number sign, and I like gallons, miles, feet and inches!


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