Neologism Watch: From Hashtag to Bashtag

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I think Forbes' excellent privacy blogger, Kashmir Hill, may have coined (or popularized) a new social media term: bashtag. A bashtag is what happens when a company (McDonald's) tries to start a promotional hashtag (#McDStories) and users use it to hate on said company.

I can't quite believe it, but I think this is a first reference for this neologism. That is to say, I can't find anyone using bashtag in quite this way, although that may be more of a failure of Twitter's search functionality than the creativity of the Internet.

In any case, expect to see #bashtag appearing soon in slide decks on social media across the land. It is a very simple way to describe what advertisers don't want to happen.


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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of TheAtlantic.com. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer has called Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science Web site in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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