Hashtags are popular means of tagging content on social media. When written in all lowercase letters, complex (multi-word) hashtags harm accessibility and readability.

We typically separate words by a space or hyphen, but there are no word boundaries in hashtags (which would break the tag). When you put several words behind each other, it's going to confuse a lot of parties; for example:

  • People who have a limited mastery of the hashtag's original language
  • People with cognitive disabilities
  • Screenreader software, which cannot interpret the intended words

There is a simple fix: capitalize the first letter of each word, also known as camel casing. Capitalizing the first letter of the hashtag is not strictly required, but I would do it in the spirit of consistency.

Examples:

  • In words: Very long hashtag
  • Fully lowercased hashtag: #verylonghashtag
  • Capitalized hashtag: #VeryLongHashtag

The capitalized hashtag is easier to read than the lowercase one, right?

Oops, that wasn't supposed to happen

Properly capitalizing hashtags can also prevent awkward situations, like this example from back in 2009. Susan Boyle released a new album, and marketeers came up with a release party hashtag. Then this happened:

  • Fully lowercased: #susanalbumparty
  • Capitalized as intended: #SusanAlbumParty
  • Capitalized when left at the creative mercy of internet users: #SusAnalBumParty

The latter version of the hashtag blew up, and this is how marketers accidentally created one of the most memorable hashtag campaigns in social media history. Well done, I guess?

Wrap-up

So there you have it: capitalize your hashtags to improve your posts' accessibility, readability, and clarity.

Read more about camel case on Wikipedia.


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