Monday, August 19, 2013

Why There's a Special Place in Hell for #Nofilter

I love Twitter, but I love hashtags even more. Recently I had to explain hashtags to a coworker who had no idea what they were. I think I managed to explain them well because she now goes about denouncing things as "Hashtag Stupid." My life's purpose may be accomplished.

Hashtags are Twitter's gift to people who compulsively organize their every thought and hope someday to see the #Internet neatly #organized into #hyperlinked #words. Because #life is #freakingamazing like that. These people drive me crazy. While I appreciate their wish to to make the entire Internet searchable, reading these makes my head ache. But these people are in the minority, because the majority of people use them in the way hashtags were really meant to shine. And that's in a passive aggressive way. 

Most people like to use them to proclaim their superiority to everyone else in the world without saying it outright. There's an art to creating the perfect snide hashtag. It has to have enough sarcasm while being succinct enough to have a chance of trending on Twitter. Because trending on Twitter is any hipster's dream, no matter how loudly they doth protest.

There are a multitude of annoying hashtags. #Blessed is pretty awful, since these people are so hipster they have a special heavenly dispensation handy to grant their every want. #Blessed people also like to use the Kelvin filter, which is arguably Instagram's worst creation. When you see a picture marked #blessed, you will feel a momentary twinge that they are obviously living a better life than you, but then remember that if your entire life was stuck in a seventies shade of orange, you'd hate your life, too. #Blessed people will wind up in a special circle of heaven where they will annoy each other for all eternity. #God is also pretty bad, because after all, no matter what your religious beliefs are, confining God to a hashtag is kind of demeaning. And what does that even mean anyway? But the one that rankles my soul the most is #nofilter. 

The person who uses #nofilter demands that you be amazed by their photographic capabilities. As a person who uses filters with reckless abandon, for a long time this worked. I was in awe of these people and their prowess with Instagram. But then I realized that they were lying through their teeth. Rather like the girl who claims her curls are natural yet she spends three hours a week perfecting said curls because her hair is actually stick straight and fried to frizz. Or the guy on the dating site who claims to be 27 but looks suspiciously like Prince Philip. The one from England, not the one from the Disney cartoon.

No one should be impressed by #nofilter. For one, the photographer is usually using an iPhone, which is generally incapable of taking a bad picture. Steve Jobs designed it to be practically idiot proof, so unless you're good at taking pocket photos and uploading them by accident, you can point your iPhone at anything and come out with your very own Walker Evans. A better hashtag might be #ThanksSteveJobs. Yet people feel the need to add #nofilter so the world knows that they and their iPhones make such special photographic teams that there is no reason to adulterate the pure perfection of that photograph with any of Instagram's cheap and tawdry filters. In reality they used one filter from Instagram, added a heart bokeh effect from PicFX, and auto-enhanced just to be safe. But still they put #nofilter, as if to tell us that their lives are so picture perfect that random hearts just appear out of thin air.

So I've decided to take this passive aggressiveness a step further and be passive aggressive to those who are passive aggressive. I started my very own hashtag. I call it #icanbepretentioustoo, and I usually put it right after I use #nofilter. Whether I actually used a filter or not is my own little secret. And for good measure, my phone and life are #superblessed.

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