Omputer-Mediated Discourse: The #Hashtag Trend

Prompt: The research question you are to investigate is the changing use of the # (hashtag) in computer-mediated discourse (communication we do on websites and in email). The hashtag was originally invented for computer platforms like Twitter, so users could track the topic of conversations (especially the names of people).

Your job is to write a research paper analyzing and explaining these new uses of the hashtag. Why and how do users use the hashtag on websites like Facebook and Twitter? What is the meaning of the hashtagged phrase in terms of semantics? Why and how are people now using hashtags? What are the rules or principles that govern its use in terms of pragmatics? Can any word be hashtagged or are there restrictions? What are the restrictions?

You are expected to collect minimally 12 examples of interesting uses of the hashtag from the internet (12 original examples, some of which you reference in the actual paper). This original data you have collected will inform your analysis.