Hashtags are ubiquitous online, they categorize content to find and join conversations on topics. The problem with current hashtag usage is they reinforce individualism over collective action. This is an issue of neoliberal “common sense” and the domination of #dotcons, prioritizing profit rather than change challenge.

Serendipity, the occurrence of events by chance, beneficially offer a fresh perspective on hashtag usage. Implementing hashtags in a way that fosters unexpected connections and discoveries transforms how they function as social tools. Misspelled hashtags result in fragmented conversations, making it difficult for people to engage in coherent discussions. However, embracing these variations also leads to a more inclusive and dynamic categorization system. By allowing for misspelled hashtags to be recognized and grouped with their counterparts, we create a more robust and forgiving serendipity system.

In a federated system like the #Fediverse, and what is envisioned for the Open Media Network (#OMN), there is a tension between universal truths and messy, subjective truths. A federated system values diversity and decentralization, allowing for meany perspectives to coexist. This approach aligns with the concept of serendipity, where the focus is on connections and discoveries rather than rigid categorization. The OMN address these issues by implementing word grouping flows, where different spellings or variations of hashtags can be grouped together to build cohesive category flows. This approach makes misspelled hashtags functional, thus addressing some of the fragmentation caused by individualistic usage.

The OMN project faces significant challenges in securing funding and overcoming internal and external obstacles. The difficulty in obtaining #FOSS funding highlights the broader issue of support for projects that prioritize open, decentralized, and community-focused approaches.

The use of hashtags is a progressive and critical perspective on technology and society. Think about neoliberalism (#deathcult) and consumer capitalism (#fashernista), promoting the ideals of the open web (#openweb) against the for-profit internet (#closedweb #dotcons). The interlocking hashtags tells a story that advocates, transparency, collaboration, and sharing in open-source development (#4opens).

Example Meanings:

  • #deathcult: Neoliberalism and its detrimental social and ecological impacts.
  • #fashernista: The trivialization of serious issues through consumerism and fashion.
  • #openweb: The original ideals of the World Wide Web.
  • #closedweb: The pre- and post-open web internet dominated by for-profit motives.
  • : Principles of transparency, collaboration, and sharing in open-source development.
  • #geekproblem: The cultural issues within the tech community, a strong tendency towards control and determinism.
  • #techshit and #techchurn: The negative consequences of constant new technological projects that fail to address any social issues.
  • #nothingnew: The question of whether new projects are needed or if existing ones should be improved.
  • #OMN and #indymediaback: Rebooting the altmedia project on the open web.
  • #OGB: Open governance and the power of community decision-making.

For hashtags to be effective tools for social change, we need to shift from individualistic to collectivist. This requires systems that accommodate human error and diversity of expression, while maintaining coherence and building community. The #OMN project is a promising approach by grouping variations of hashtags, but it faces significant challenges in implementation and support.

Let’s embrace a serendipitous view of hashtag to enrich conversations in the era of the #deathcult.