There probably won't be any particular theme to today's questions...we'll just see which way the wind blows.
How do you feel about the use of hashtags? I started using them ironically as a way to embarrass my stepson / make fun of my students, but now they're kind of thing for me.
Well, Megan...to be honest, I kinda hate the ironic use of hashtags. I think they had their moment, but it's in the past now. I don't mine the appropriate use of hashtags, though. When they serve the purpose that they were originally designed for-- they're perfectly fine. But only in moderation. For instance, I follow a number of beauty and makeup bloggers on Instagram (and they all have about a billion followers, so I seriously doubt they'll mind me calling them out here. Clearly they're doing just fine despite me rolling my eyes at them.). I don't know what it is, but beauty bloggers just looooooooove to use a freaking abundance of hashtags on every single picture. Some of them are what I would deem functional hashtags: the brand names of the makeup they're wearing (#urbandecay or #loracpropalette) or things like #eyeshadowtutorial (if they included a description/tutorial in their photo comment)...those are things that interested parties (like me!) will actually click on to see OTHER pictures that are in those categories. Very useful. But then the other 52 hashtags that are like #fridayfunday #pretty #eyes #beauty and so on and so forth? No. Just stop. No one's clicking on those to see what a billion other random people are saying about #eyes. Or at least I'm not. So therefore they shouldn't do it, because my opinion is the most important.
Useful Hashtags that I Don't Roll My Eyes At: television show names, wedding (or other) events (SUPER helpful so that you can see lots of pictures from people that aren't necessarily your personal friends!), brand names, specific things that people care about and may legitimately want to search
Hashtags I Roll My Eyes At: pretty much any generic adjective (#lovely, #happy, #yummy), stupid things like #followme and #instawow, and the ubiquitous and waaaaaaaaay overused #soblessed. Please. No.
PS. If you happen to use the hashtags that I have deemed eye-roll-worthy and you like them, I encourage you to keep doing it without an ounce of guilt or worry. This is just my opinion, not the Word of God and Law of the Land...take it for what it's worth-- probably not much.
My question is do you have a hard time keeping a clean house with Lola? As an owner of two big black fur babies, I feel like it’s impossible to keep my house clean.
Well Tamara, the truth is, our live-in housekeeper is so efficient vacuuming up the fur, I hardly even notice it!! Oh wait. Sorry. That's in my fantasy world. In REAL LIFE...holy cow. My faux-wood floors are perpetually buried under a small mountain of black fur. Especially in the summer...like...now. UGH. I wish I had great tips, but basically we just resign ourselves to vacuuming up the tumbleweeds of dog fur a couple times a week and tell ourselves that she's worth it. When it comes down to it, the benefits of having the Lola outweigh the benefits of having a perfectly clean house, so I try to remember that and just roll my eyes at the dog fur. And vacuum it up again. And again.
(There's a lot of eye rolling going on today, eh?)
PS. In the interest of uniting questions 1 and 2, I must add that Tamara introduced me to one of my FAVORITE instagram hashtags: #labsofinstagram. I will click that EVERY time because hello-- a constantly-updated string of adorable lab pictures? COME TO MAMA.
Amanda J. asked:
How do I correct the grammar of my loved ones without sounding like a huge jerk?
Judgmental Grammar Nazi
Alright. This is clearly something I deal with myself, so you came to the right place, Amanda. We're going to have to break this down into two Correcting Categories, though: Out Loud/Speaking Grammar and Written Grammar.
If you're chatting in person with someone and they display some heinous grammar (which honestly, happens much less frequently than in writing...most adult native American-English speakers do just fine speaking)...I would pretty much never correct it. I can't think of any way that it would NOT come off as incredibly obnoxious. I mean, unless they're asking hey, is it _____ or should I say _____?...in which case, of course, weigh in. But to just jump in with a tip about subject-verb agreement? Don't. I could think of exceptions, of course: if the person is a child (that you know well), a gentle re-stating of a sentence is probably fine. If the person is an English language learner that has previously asked or mentioned that they're wanting help with their spoken English, it could be appropriate. But basically...I never correct people's spoken grammar.
Obviously, intervention-requiring written grammar is much more common. But you're just as likely to look like a jerk if you don't tread lightly. I would pretty much never recommend directly calling out someone's error (the exception being if they are someone you know extremely well who you know would WANT to know about an error. People call out my mistakes and/or typos all the time and I 100% appreciate it. I want to know better and do better, so I never mind someone pointing out something erroneous). I feel a passive-aggressive approach can be quite effective when dealing with grammar mistakes. For instance, you can write a blog post on a very specific error, providing lots of right and wrong examples, and share it all over social media in hopes that the offending party(ies) will see it and read it. Now, what's probably more likely is that the only people who will think "oooh! A grammar blog post!! Let me click over here and read!!" are other grammar aficionados, so you're kinda just going to be preaching to the choir, but...still. It's worth a try. You could also do a similar (but shorter) tutorial right there in your Facebook status or whatever. If you are good friends with the offender AND they have a good sense of humor, you could try gently drawing attention to their mistake- I've seen (but not personally done) this before and it seemed to be effective and not too offensive:
(pretend this is a FB status): The Smith's are moving to California!!
Grammar Nazi comments: Who is the Smith? I am really going to miss him!! ;)
Original poster: Haha what? I never know what to do with apostrophes!!
GN: I know, they're stupid. You can just say 'the Smiths.' You're not possessing anything in this sentence, so you don't need any apostrophes. We're really going to miss you guys though!!
That's probably a best case scenario. If I were someone just reading through that exchange, I probably wouldn't think the GN was being a jerk, especially if I knew that he and the original poster were good friends. In a perfect world, ol' Smith would then go and edit his status so as not to offend future readers.
At the end of the day, though, you just have to accept that there are two kinds of people in the world: People Who Care About Grammar and People Who Don't. The PWD aren't bad people. They're not trying to hurt and offend the PWCAG. And so if they manage to make it to the ripe old age of 70 and still don't know how to use apostrophes and commas but they do have a number of other redeeming qualities...just let it go. You can't save them all. But if they also incorrectly use hashtags, then you're really going to have to make a judgment call and intervene about ONE of those issues. I really can't let my eyes be accosted by bad grammar and unnecessary hashtags at the same time. It's too much.