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What We’re Reading: The problem with hashtags

Medium Staff
The Medium Blog
Published in
4 min readAug 18

Hi everyone,

It’s been one week since Medium Day, and since then, #MediumDay has proliferated on various social media channels. Also since then, Chris Messina, the inventor of the hashtag, has waxed poetic on the meta-device he created, its upcoming 16th birthday, and how we all use or misuse it.

“The problem with the problem with hashtags is that solving any of the hashtag’s problems invariably results in other problems,” Messina writes. “Getting people to add metadata — at scale — to their posts on social media is hard. Most won’t be bothered (see above: drunk test). But at least for those who do (well intentioned and spammers alike), there’s the potential benefit of increased reach and visibility.”

There is a lot to parse in the article, which I highly suggest you read. And then, if you haven’t already, you can join our Mastodon instance ( where you can follow the ensuing conversation about the hows, whys, and why nots of said hashtags on this newish social media option.

There is a whole masterclass in Messina’s words, especially if you are a frequent user of hashtags or one of those folks #who #hashtag #every #word #in #a #post.

If you missed Medium Day, fear not! If you previously registered, you can log in to view some of the session recordings. If you did not register, several speakers have penned pieces about their Medium Day teachings. A few of those pieces are interspersed below in this weekend’s reads, or can be found on our Medium Day topic page.

See you on Medium, and #carryon.

Adrienne Gibbs
Director of Creator Growth @ Medium

Your Weekend Reads

Medium Day and the Future of Writing” by Karine Schomer, writer, in All Things Examined

Tony Stubblebine, CEO of Medium at Medium Day 2023 (source: Medium Day recording)

I was one of those who tuned in for almost the the entire day, browsing the 230 sessions to find those of interest, posting comments and questions, engaging with new people whose minds intrigued me, getting in on the giddy good vibes of the event.

Haven’t had such a stimulating time since the days when I used to attend academic and professional conventions and always felt like I was in a huge candy store. And all this now from the comfort of my home study.

Hey Haoles, If You’ve Taken a Trip to Maui, You Need To Give Back Right Now” by Megan Finley Horowitz, self-described haole and former blogger

Once the shock of the news wore off, I realized that this was one of the few times in my life that I could actually give back to the island that has given so much to me in a really big way. While my village over there was suffering, I am sitting here surrounded by resources. And so are my fellow haoles.

Right this minute is the rare chance for us haoles to actually help Hawaii rather than take.

Medium Day: talking about professors and content creation” by Enrique Dans, Professor of Innovation at IE Business School, in Enrique Dans

If this modest academic who tries to write as neutrally as possible — obviously, with my opinions, but never writing to please anyone or to serve anyone — has managed to attract almost 60,000 subscribers and to be quoted in numerous publications on a regular basis in the English-speaking world, I owe it mainly to Medium.

The Growing Revolt Against AI Data Scraping” by Paul DelSignore, creative technologist and generative AI theorist, in The Generator

While AI is winning in the courts, public opinion seems to be swaying on the side of disapproval towards AI content scraping.

The problem, of course, is that AI models need data… lots and lots of data… to improve performance and become smarter.

The Most Interesting People in the Room” by Amy Sea, writer and editor

Medium Day felt like a virtual salesforce meeting but instead of Beyoncé making an appearance, we got MuddyUm, The Narrative Arc, iPoetry, Fanfare, Roz Warren, Patrick Metzger, Emily Menez, Greener Pastures — just to name a few.

My initial takeaway from Medium Day was we’re storytellers above everything else, but we’re also a community. The only way we can get better is to honor that.

Canva adapted by Amy Sea

What have you been reading this week? What was your favorite session at Medium Day? Let us know in the responses!

Inspired to write? Get started.

What We’re Reading” is a weekly roundup of insightful stories and perspectives from across Medium. Browse previous editions here.



Medium Staff
The Medium Blog

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