It would seem that the #hashtag is the new bumper sticker. They can be innocuous little words used as a digital makeshift filing system or, more often than not, they can be used to represent one's personal opinions with extreme brevity.
Yet, unlike bumper stickers, hashtags also have the potential to alienate its reader's personal opinions, with extreme anger.
You don't need to explore the comments section of a story featuring the hashtag "BlackLivesMatter," very long to find its "composite sketch" version, "AllLivesMatter." Had the "Black Lives Matter" movement added the letters "T-O-O" at the end, perhaps the time spent arguing syntax could be better spent discussing the very real racial problem we still have in this country.
When I see the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter, at no point do I think its user is claiming that black lives matter more, or should matter more, than any other life. They are simply asking that their life be held in the same regard as all other lives.
It would be like seeing a bumper sticker that reads, "I Love New York," and having the immediate feeling of:
"Yeah? Well, 'I Love America!'"
or "I Love My Wife!"
or even "I Love Harry Potter Books!"
Of course you do! The beauty of the human heart is, that it is capable of loving more than one thing, and at the same time!
"Shit Happens." We accept that as true. But we also accept that many other things also happen besides shit.
"Mean People Suck." As do people, and things, who are not inherently "mean."
If we only went by the actual words in a statement, the 80s would have seen an inordinate amount of traffic accidents because no one could see out their rear window through the sign that said:
Baby On Board, as well as a battery, axels, brakes, pistols, fuel injector, radiator, ac compressor, clutch, engine fan, spare tire, jack, shock absorbers, transmission, spark plugs, air filter, muffler, catalytic converter, alternator, pressure gauge, steering wheel, seats, driver, a half eaten pack of Skittles and U2's Rattle and Hum.
That's a lot of information. Information that we likely already knew as soon as we saw the car. Except maybe the bit about the Skittles...And the fact that there's a baby inside. A baby that someone was merely hoping to provide a safer environment, simply by using three little words.