#Hashtag – UK Children’s ‘Word’ of the Year

The World is truly Digital, as the Children of the UK vote “Hashtag” as the Word of the Year! 

As the highly exciting Digital World and Web 2.0 (if it can still be called such) continues to develop and expand into all facets of everyday life, even our children are joining the evolution – so says Chris Evans. In the latter half of last month, BBC Radio 2 ran a 500 word short story competition for their young listeners, which received an emphatic 120,421 entries.

Twitter home page on a tablet

The Oxford University Press subsequently analysed the entries and determined that UK Children’s Word of the Year is “Hashtag”. As used entirely outside of the social networking context in which it began, the term, or really one should say prefix, is being used by the children to place particular emphasis or emotion into a sentence:

‘She then picked it up and ran out of the cave… the cave exploded and she didn’t look back at it exploding, she just kept on walking forward # super cool.’

(One entrant wrote)

According to the study, further digital-related words were regularly used by the tech-savvy youngsters, such as YouTube, Zoella, Snapchat, Selfie, vlog, blog, Instagram, Emoji and WhatsApp. Yet Hashtag remains the resounding favourite. No longer is it entirely used as a prefix or a Twitter search handle, but is becoming an important part of modern vocabulary among UK children. Also featuring were other social media based terminology such as hits, shares, notifications, comments, likes and views.

Story-telling has always been a great way for children to communicate, using creativity to express their imagination, and these digital terms are merely fueling such. Hashtag (#) is enabling added commentary by the wee nippers to make a sentence significantly punchier than any previous attempt.

This is much the same in the professional world of Digital Marketing, where almost everyone on Twitter (as well as other social networks such as Facebook and Google+) use a hashtag to emphasise a particular phrase or word with the aim of gaining more attention; #job is often used within recruitment for example.


Hashtag 2


What is also interesting is the level of sophistication the children demonstrated in their short stories, with current affairs featuring as a main topic in many of their writings.

The EBOLA epidemic and World War One Celebrations were frequently discussed, demonstrating their acute awareness of particular global happenings. Possibly, then, this is indicating a distinct connection between children and the Internet, where they have an instant access to said news stories, especially through social media.

This could go to explaining their rapid adoption of such terminology as hashtag and others, for they, like most of us in the UK, are regularly immersed in a social media culture.

New Era of Millennials

Perhaps the cliché of children being the future is true, but what is for sure is how they are embracing the present. For digital, we could be witnessing a new era of highly sophisticated and technological-savvy millennials, offering a new perspective towards Digital Marketing practices, like SEO, PPC, Web Development and more!

If you would like to get more involved in the Digital Marketing revolution, then check out our job board. Make sure you get your chance before those pesky kids get their chocolate-covered hands on them!

CJ Carver, Social Media Manager signature for clockworkTalent

Posted in Blog Posts, Digital Marketing |

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