And the Most Inappropriate Use Of A Hashtag Award goes to…

Photo: @louiselinton 

It might have been around for a decade but, as Louise Linton found out, the hashtag can still land you in #shit. Laura Craik discusses tagging etiquette

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By Laura Craik on

There are loads of things that make me feel old these days – doctors that look about 12, the 20 year anniversary of Buffy – but none have succeeded quite so magnificently as news that the hashtag has been around for a decade. Ten. Years. #WTF?

I can barely remember life without it. I certainly can’t imagine life without it now. How would we ever survive without #justsaying, #tbt and #sorrynotsorry? Actually, I would survive pretty well. Hashtags – specifically, their over-use – drive me #insane. My worst is when people on Instagram get over-zealous with the return key to separate their hashtags from their post, in a vain and wholly futile attempt to disguise the fact that they’ve hashtagged 150 words in a bid to get more eyeballs on their #selfie #Ibiza #beachlife #instacool #instagood. Which isn’t to say I haven’t tried this myself. Social media is like make-up: you have to experiment with different techniques to find the ones that suit you. Just like the wrong make-up, the wrong hashtags will make you look like a clown. 

Which is one of the more polite words you could use to describe Louise Linton, wife of US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and crown princess of Most Inappropriate Use Of A Hashtag Ever – at least since 2012, when Susan Boyle’s record company invited Twitter to a #Susanalbumparty. Linton decided that it would be a really good idea to post a pic to Instagram of she and her husband disembarking a US Air Force in Kentucky and tagging her #Hermesscarf, her #TomFord sunnies (sic) and her #ValentinoRockStudHeels, presumably under the impression that she is some sort of fashion influencer, and not the wife of a US official disembarking from a government-owned private jet. So far, so #basic – only the post (despite being swiftly deleted) went viral, on account of Linton’s response to one detractor who branded her actions #deplorable. Linton’s tirade is too lengthy and too puke-making to report here, but included such gems as: “have you given more to the economy than me and my husband?” as well as the observation that her critic was “adorably out of touch”. 

Social media is like make-up: you have to experiment with different techniques to find the ones that suit you. Just like the wrong make-up, the wrong hashtags will make you look like a clown

All of which raises the question: when is it okay to tag your own clothes? What if you’re visiting your dying father wearing $13,000 worth of swag and the hospital lighting is really bad but you’re just so tempted? Here’s our handy guide.


1) If you’re a genuine, bona fide fashion influencer. You clearly aren’t embarrassed by self-promotion: it’s how you came to be a fashion influencer in the first place. It’s also how you make your living. If people don’t like it, they can unfollow you.

2) If you’re a model / actress / TV presenter / brand ambassador / anyone in the public eye whose appearance is a large part of their career

3) If you’re a PR, in which case – duh – it’s your job to tag yourself, your staff and anyone else you spy wearing your clients’ stuff

4) If you’re a teenager. Teenagers are supposed to be over-excited about everything. Even their £6.99 Primark tube dress. Especially their £6.99 Primark tube dress.

5) Any time you’re especially chuffed with your look – it’s what #ootd was made for, and there’s nothing wrong with bigging yourself up. Sometimes. Except….


1) At a funeral. However hot you look in black. Not even if you’re wearing a cute little hat with a #fishnetveil.

2) In court, no matter how small the charge

3) If you’re a mummy blogger wearing nothing more exciting than a high street parka and a pair of TOMS

4) If you’re royalty / a politician / spouse of royalty or a politician on taxpayer-funded business. Which isn’t to imply that you should have zero interest in clothes – just that there’s a time and a place

5) If you’re Louise Linton. For all the reasons mentioned in 4), this woman should lie low for a while. 

Social media is not the most edifying arena for those without a grasp of the most basic social graces. Tag your five star holidays, your fancy cars, your luxurious home and your designer handbags too relentlessly and you’ll get on peoples’ nerves. Nobody likes a #hashswagger. They’re too try-hard. Or, as one Twitter user put it, “trash is trash, even wearing couture”. 


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Photo: @louiselinton 
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