James Cooper is a strategist on the Content and Community team at Social Media Group (SMG). Follow @jamescooper
You’re probably familiar with and may, at some point, have used air quotes. But have you heard of an air hashtag?
A few weeks ago, I thought I was quite clever and original when I crossed the index and middle fingers of my left hand over the index and middle fingers of my right hand to form what I called the “air hashtag” for my colleague, Karly Gaffney. Karly seemed to like the idea.
However, I soon suspected that something so simple must already exist in the vast web of ideas. Sure enough, after asking around the office here at Social Media Group, my suspicions were confirmed. Maggie Fox, SMG’s CEO, shared a picture she snapped of Stowe Boyd doing the four-fingered air hashtag at the Defrag Conference in November 2009.
June Thomas, culture critic at Slate, also Tweeted a photo of the four-fingered air hashtag sign more than a year ago.
(Needless to say, it seems I’m a “bit” late to the air hashtag party.)
Through a more thorough investigation, I found that, in addition to the four-fingered sign, there is a hand gesture version of the air hashtag, which Neil Patrick Harris’s character, Barney Stinson, so dramatically demonstrates in the CBS series How I Met Your Mother.
Earlier this month, The Guardian Short Cuts Blog made a post about finger hashtags and, in June, A Librarian’s Guide To Etiquette also posted on the topic. Both blogs call out the need for an air hashtag standard. I agree with them.
I’m in favor of the four-fingered sign because it lends itself to photographs, whereas Barney Stinson’s gesture clearly does not. However, Stinson’s gesture does have the advantage that it can be done with one hand.
So what do you think? Should the four-fingered sign become the standard? Or should it be Barney Stinson’s flamboyant air gesture? Or should we scrap the idea altogether?
Cast your vote.
Four fingers, all the way!