It's the final nail in the coffin of word-based human communication. Instagram's new feature: emoji hashtags.
Say you're at a baseball game. You post a pic to Instagram. You want to add a hashtag, but don't feel like typing out "#yankeesvsmets" or "#ungodlypricedcoorslight". Thanks to an update that appeared in the app store today, you can just add "#[baseball emoji]", grouping your photo with all others related to home runs or drunk fan fist fights.
Emoji have been a shorthand for years now, so Instagram adding hashtag functionality was inevitable. After all, entire conversations can unfold in emoji alone, laced with all kinds of nuances, innuendos, and hidden meanings that make cursive feel as quaintly dated as horse-drawn carriages and powdered wigs.
Dare we ask what types of pictures will pop up when you search for the poop emoji hashtag? Or what of the eggplant, which is often described as the most phallic emoji? According to BuzzFeed, the most popular emoji on Instagram are the laugh-'til-you-cry face, kissy face, and the hearts-for-eyes face. Those aren't very interesting choices — but on the other hand, I'm not sure we'd want to scroll through photos hashtagged with the bloody syringe.