Toral: Conveying emotions through hashtags

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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

A FEW years back, a book that grabbed my interest was Edward De Bono’s “The De Bono Code” ( It talked about the struggle of communications and how we often misunderstand another person’s intention, especially on non-verbal or written communication. He created numeric codes meant to identify the tone of a communication.

I agreed with it back then as communicating though platforms like Twitter was limiting. But the numbers required memorization and have to be seen consistently for reference. It reminded me of military style radio communication where you needed to know what each number set is about it.

Of course, when the use of hashtags became popular, it allowed people who post to classify or categorize what their status was about.


For example, I can say:
I am sad. #fever
I am sad. #paydayblues
I am sad. #missingyou
I am sad. #projectfail
I am sad. #(airlinename)sucks

Apart from looking cute in your status, it more or less puts in emotion that is not directly conveyed in the message. But this also presents a challenge as the hashtags are not organized as well. But then again, those who really want their post to be noticed usually take the effort of researching and using the hashtag that is most appropriate.

Last Monday, I was a speaker at the “Na-Hashtag Ka Na Ba?” organized by the Polytechnic University of the Philippines in Quezon City. One attraction they had was a hashtag photo booth where you can have your photo taken beside a life-size pound sign holding a hashtag of your choice. I asked my fellow speaker, Gian Javelona, to have a photo with me holding the hashtag sign #superfeelingpogi while I held the #superfeelingganda. It was hilarious.

Looking at the other students, I could say that they enjoyed it as each hashtag sign had expressions often not communicated verbally like #friendzoned #selfie among others.

So do you have your own hashtag already? Something that you will use consistently to communication your campaigns and that followers can use to communicate with others too. If you don’t have one yet, start thinking about it. Of course, don’t forget to tag me at #digitalfilipino or @digitalfilipino so I can see your updates that you think I should know about.


Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 19, 2014.


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