Make Better Hashtags With Camel Case

There you are, casually perusing Twitter, when all of a sudden you’re forced to decode a jumble of letters–you’ve run into a garbled hashtag. “I don’t even like word jumbles!”, you shout at your poor, startled roommate, who fell asleep on the couch watching Mythbusters re-runs again.

You didn’t sign up for this, right? You’re only messing around online because you’re procrastinating on a paper that’s due in 12 hours–you’re trying to avoid thinking hard about words and letters and English. No, it’s not fair that the Internet gave you this hashtag to decode, but there’s nothing you can do about it now. You just have to soldier on, decode that sucker, feel that twinge of disappointment when the effort isn’t worth it, and move on to the next Tweet.

But you can do something to help future generations: start using Camel Case for your hashtags, and maybe the change you make in the world will boomerang and make your life better in the future. I took to Twitter on Valentine’s Day to try and get the word out:

Camel Case is a way to write human-readable, multi-word strings sans spaces and special characters. Basically, you capitalize the first letter of each new word in the string, so you can see the individual words at a glance. It’s been around for a long time in computer programming and chemistry, whose taxonomies involve long, continuous strings of words and individual characters. Most user-facing applications and interfaces don’t need Camel Case because they’re usually pretty comfortable with spaces–they’re designed to be human-facing, human-readable interfaces–but you may have seen Camel Case in online usernames (“FrankTheTank”) and a few other places.

Aside from usernames, the most common user-facing, non-spaces, multi-word user interface element is probably the hashtag. But for some reason, people haven’t adopted Camel Case for their hashtags. The result is that hashtags are as much of a nuisance as a tool. But they don’t have to be! Here are some examples of hashtags with and without Camel Case:


  • #followfriday
  • #justsayin
  • #nofilter
  • #happybirthdayjosh

WithCamelCase 1

  • #FollowFriday
  • #JustSayin
  • #NoFilter
  • #HappyBirthdayJosh

See how much easier it is to read the Camel Case hashtags? The Camel Case hashtags are still clumped up, but at least we immediately know where their words begin and end, making it a lot easier for us to process and decode them.

So, do yourself and everyone else a favor and use Camel Case for your hashtags. Your followers will thank you.