Today’s big “So dumb I can’t believe it’s a real trend” trend comes courtesy of Wired’s U.K. website, in an article called “Brace yourselves for the proliferation of the ‘finger hashtag.’”
According to the piece’s author, who also provided seven pieces of photographic evidence, this new “trend” involves people “actually making the hashtag sign with their hands (using the index and middle fingers from both laid over each other) rather than saying ‘hashtag.’”
Which would be semi-outrageous (no more so than planking, surely) and sort of makes you hope that the people currently using this gesture are “killed in a fire,” as the story goes, except for one thing. This trend story is most likely a fake.
Now, that’s not to say the idea of finger-hashing isn’t out there, on the other side of the pond: it was first discovered, seemingly out of the blue, for this Guardian article last August, to which a Gizmodo.UK blogger responded asking everyone to please not do it. But the biggest problem isn’t whether it exists in theory.
The biggest problem regarding the validity of the Wired article is that its author, Nimrod Kamer, is a merry social media prankster; a Vice filmmaker whom we once witnessed creating a fake Kenyan Obama birthing video. He also made a video of an atheist’s church, which was not real at all. He has, by his own admission, tricked celebrities and random people alike into falling for his stunts. His HuffPostUK Tech piece about 20 Twitter Rules is obviously satire (“18. Unfollow ten folks every Friday,” reads one), but is listed on the site as actual advice and not parody.
So the fact that Mr. Kamer, pictured as the first person in the Wired article making the finger hashtag gesture, somehow convinced six other people to do so for a slideshow does not mean it’s a trend. After all, this why Mr. Kamer says that finger hashing is an important new development:
It is special because it requires two hands, forcing people to drop their phones and look at each other’s eyes. It brings out the hashness in all of us, shifting our gaze from the screen, and even allowing mute people and detectives looking at prisoners through a glass to take part in this social game.
Though unfortuantely, the fact that Kamer is mocking it doesn’t mean the practice doesn’t exist: Like we said, there does seem to be some history of the finger-hashing before this piece, and Kamer does, on occasion, participate in actual journalism … or at least, journalistic commentary. But that’s the problem with people who punk the press: Once trolled, twice shy.