The hashtag, made famous by Twitter, is the application allowing users to filter through noise to consume specific media and content. The hashtag is the structure of both the # and the word or phrase, this is then archived into medium of connected tags. Following the rapid rise of Twitter the hashtag has changed the narrative of human communication, and forced competitive social platforms to adjust accordingly.
According to MacDonald, M. (2015) hashtags represent paralanguage, the non-verbal cues that accompany human expression. This is due to digital technologies limiting the capacity that individuals can express complex communication, such as sarcasm or self derision. The meme #firstworldproblems, for example, represents this capacity. This is due to the concept that hashtags represent more than just the dissemination of information, but rather a narrative of each tag contributing to the idea and discussion of that theme. Hashtags represent trends, individual and organisational reaction and consumption of such trends, and their perspective contribution to further narrative.
This has been illustrated through hashtag activism, with numerous interactions or comments in response to a tagged word, phrase or sequence resulting from personal experience they undertake narrative agency. Yang argues that one aspect of narrative agency results through invitation of the audience, allowing the individual to co-create the narrative. Successful hashtag activism contains powerful calls to action, through demands appeals or protest – #OccupyWallStreet, #BlackLivesMatter, #BringBackOurGirls; the words in bold illustrate the strong sense of force.