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1 in 4 Baby Boomers Believe “Hashtags” Should be Taught in Schools, According to Recent Google Survey on Social Media Grammar and Punctuation

Social media expert Marisa Murgatroyd weighs in on what this means for companies who market to the Baby Boomer generation – as well as rural consumers and those earning less than $75,000…

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SAN DIEGO, CA, October 16, 2013 - When it comes to teaching proper social media grammar in schools, Americans are divided – at least according to results of a recent Google survey, “In America, should schools teach how to properly use “hashtags”?

Querying over 1,000 Americans nationwide, 1 in 4 Baby Boomers support teaching proper hashtag usage in schools, whereas in contrast, 68.5% of respondents aged 18-24 believe hashtags should NOT be taught in school.

What’s so significant about this latest factoid?

According to Marisa Murgatroyd, the founder of Live Your Message ( and social media expert who sponsored the survey, this information underscores a growing divide between communication styles (and opinions thereof) of older Americans and their younger counterparts.

Murgatroyd speculates, “One likely reason why so many Boomers want to see hashtags taught in schools, may be because they themselves don’t know what a hashtag means, despite likely seeing it used online and on television.”

In fact, the survey data supports this: Respondents over the age of 55 were also least likely to know what a hashtag is (25.5% did not know) compared to those under the age of 55 (17.6%).

“Using hashtags requires education,” adds Murgatroyd. “Companies who market to Boomers and use hashtags (and other forms of social media grammar and punctuation) in their marketing should consider educating their market on what these symbols mean.”

Murgatroyd continues, “Because marketing departments are often staffed with 20-something professionals, hashtag understanding is assumed, and as a result this type of consumer education is often overlooked.”

Another surprising finding of the survey is the divide between urban/suburban and rural consumers:  Among urban/suburban respondents, 80% knew what a hashtag is, yet in rural areas – nearly 1 in 3 respondents did not know what a hashtag is.

The survey uncovered a similar divide across income lines: Respondents earning less than $75,000 per year are 3 times less likely to know what a hashtag is, when compared to those earning $75,000 or more.

“The message is clear,” Murgatroyd concludes. “For companies who market to rural consumers, consumers who earn less than $75,000 per year, or Baby Boomers – it’s not safe to assume your market understands what a hashtag means.  And when you confuse your market, you also risk alienating your customer base.”

A summary of the survey results, complete with charts, high-resolution photographs, and additional expert insights can be found by visiting:

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About Marisa Murgatroyd

Marisa Murgatroyd is the founder of Live Your Message, where she shows entrepreneurs how to build a leading brand and lucrative web presence.  She’s worked with leading-edge clients such as Don Crowther, Alexis Neely, Michelle Schubnel, Eric Lofholm, Morgana Rae and Evan Marc Katz.

Today, Marisa’s purpose and passion lies in helping emerging entrepreneurs launch themselves online through her signature training programs: Message to Money, Hidden Story Power and Superhero Summits. 

She has also produced dozens of large-scale, award-winning projects for clients like the Getty Museum, PBS, UCLA, and the State of California. Cumulatively, these projects have moved over 75,000 units and generated over $1M in sales, and won 30+ industry awards including two Tellys.

Marisa Murgatroyd
(310) 210-9426

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Survey Results

According to the Google Survey we conducted on October 3rd, 2013 – 1 in 4 of Baby Boomers Believe “Hashtags” Should be Taught in Schools, According to Recent Google Survey on Social Media Grammar and Punctuation. Here are the actual results:


Finding #1:
The Great Divide – Urban/Suburban vs. Rural


Finding #2:
Respondents earning less than $75,000 per year are 3 times less likely to know what a hashtag is when compared to those earning $75,000 or more.

Full Results:
In America, should schools teach how to properly use “hashtags”?

(i.e. the symbol used online that looks like this: #)

Marisa Murgatroyd
(310) 210-9426

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Sue E White
Good point about Baby Boomers - many marketers don't really understand Boomers or take their preferences into account. In fact, many Baby Boomers feel offended by a lot of advertising directed at their demographic.


Michael A Roeten
A summary of the survey results, complete with charts, high-resolution photographs, and additional expert insights can be found by visiting: When I click on this link, I get this same article page, but not the stuff you mention.


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