Editor’s Note: In the spirit of gratitude, beginning today and until Thanksgiving, the Prichard Communications team will share a communications tool we’re grateful for—big or small. Check back each day for a new perspective!

Hashtags are getting kind of a bad rap lately, what with Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake throwing my friend Hashtag under the bus last month on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.”

While I agree with my two celebrity boyfriends this dynamic duo that the verbal use of hashtags is somewhat ridiculous if not downright erroneous most of the time, I think the hashtag deserves respect in the written, online environment.

If you think about it, hashtags are like the cute shoes of social media—they’re the accessory that pulls it all together. Here’s how:

  • Anyone who knows me knows that I like order and hashtags provide me with that order. They make it easy for me to filter through an enormous amount of information and follow conversations that matter to me–conversations that took place earlier in the day or even before that.
  • Hashtags also allow me to follow events that interest me IN REAL TIME like my beloved Kansas Jayhawk Men’s Basketball games that we don’t get here in Oregon. (Go, Wiggins!)
  • Hashtags help connect or categorize photos, ideas and information that would otherwise never be part of the same conversation–but should be.
  • I also love that hashtags can provide additional–often funny or sarcastic–context to a conversation.

So while they’re imperfect just like the rest of us, definitely abused, and should be avoided on Facebook, I encourage you to give hashtags a chance!