I got your #hashtag right here!
If you don’t know what a hashtag is, don’t feel bad, you are not alone. “A hashtag is a type of metadata tag used on social networks such as Twitter and other microblogging services, allowing users to apply dynamic, user-generated tagging which makes it possible for others to easily find messages with a specific theme or content,” according to Wikipedia. Excuse me? My online dictionary breaks it down more simply by defining the hashtag as: “A word or phrase preceded by a hash sign (#) used on social media websites to identify messages on a specific topic.”
It’s all still relatively new, in the grand scheme of things. Remember Myspace? I thought the grandfather of social media sites was long defunct, but according to www.lifewire.com is still limping along, looking for a way to “get back on top” to where it all started in 2005, when the site was “reportedly responsible for nearly 80 percent of all traffic related to social networking sites,” and a hashtag (#) still symbolized the word pound. Nowadays, we’re inundated with newfangled words and phrases associated with social media, whether we’re online or not, and I interact with Facebook and Twitter like a pro, but I hadn’t yet ventured to the Insta-world when The River Reporter’s graphic designer Amanda Reed told me I had to get an Instagram account. “I mean, you know, IMHO,” she said with a wink. “Facebook is for kids, and let’s face it,” she continued, “you’re not a kid anymore!” Reluctantly, I agreed, and three days in, I’m seeing the hashtag, (which according to www.hashtags.org, I kid you not, first made an appearance in 2007) everywhere.
“Join us for our fourth #Winterfest,” I read online last week, “a great way to get out and enjoy winter in the #Catskills,” the online flyer read. “We’ll have our ice carvers from #Stumpdevils back plus live music featuring #hillbillyparade and #sunseteastmusic after 4 p.m.” Promising family fun and a #bonfire, Winterfest would include activities, live entertainment, food and hot cocoa, along with plenty of (duh) beer. I had a great time last year at #roscoebeercompany and asked a pal to come with. “I don’t drink beer at all,” I told her, “and had a blast regardless—let’s go!” Clicking the new Instagram app on my phone, I noted the hashtags for #RoscoeNY, #TroutTown and #Catskills, of course, and “checked in,” informing the world at large that #Dharmathewonderdog would be making an appearance at #Winterfest.
Sure enough, I heard my dog’s name minutes after arriving at the Roscoe Beer Co., which was thrumming with activity—both inside and out. “Look, there’s Dharma—and that guy from the paper,” said a woman who was fireside with her husband and a pal. As I made my way to their table, I learned that Lynn and John Betson, along with friend Kim Bergen, had come from their Beach Lake retreat in PA, where they read The River Reporter to keep up on what’s happening in the Upper Delaware River region. “That’s why we’re here,” Bergen chimed in, while petting the pooch. “We read about it in your column.” Thrilled that they acknowledged my existence in-between cooing over the dog, I snapped their pic for posterity and made my way to the tent outdoors, where a considerable crowd was dancing, hooting and hollering. A quick glance at Instagram revealed hashtags #country, #party and #dance describing the music emanating from the tent and all three were evident as Top 40 country cover band Hillbilly Parade raised the proverbial roof.
“I told you they were great,” I said to my friend as we snaked our way to the outdoor ice bar for food and drink. “Oh look!” I shouted above the din in the courtyard, “There’s a princess.” Introducing myself, I learned that the tiara adorning Regina Giordano’s head was in honor of her birthday, and she was celebrating at #Winterfest with pals, including John Sohns, whose birthday coincided. “It’s always a party at Roscoe Beer,” Regina said with a grin, “so it made perfect sense to celebrate here.” Dharma wriggled in my grasp when she spotted Jake and Jen Friehling, who were cradling #SiriusBlack, the newest canine addition to their family. “I just saw him on Instagram,” I said nonchalantly, as if I’d been cool my whole life. “He’s adorable, how big will he get?” Assured that the Newfoundland mix would be huge, I gave the puppy a pat and moved on.
Just past the bonfire, chainsaws hummed and folks gathered to watch the Stump Devils crew put the finishing touches on their incredible icy tribute to Trout Town. I snapped more pics and saw dozens of friends while Dharma, my gal pal and I made our way to the car, noting that hundreds were in attendance and the party was really beginning to hop. I may be on Instagram now, but I still need a #nap.
For more photos of #Winterfest at the Roscoe Beer Co. ‘like’ TRR on Facebook and visit our photo gallery at http://www.riverreporter.com.