I have a problem. (Well. Let’s be real – I have many, but let’s focus on the one at hand.)
It starts like this: new slang words surface, and then I use them as a joke because they’re silly and ridiculous. Unfortunately, these new joke words become thoroughly etched into my vocabulary, and then I become unable to stop using them.
It’s a disease. One made exponentially worse by the internet.
Another thing that I do in real life is say the word “hashtag” out loud while making “hashtag fingers.” (Thanks a lot, Jimmy Fallon.) If you’ve never spoken to me in person, please see the following example.
Okay. So just imagine my surprise and delight(!) when the public transportation in Oslo had this beautiful logo.
That’s right. All public transportation, throughout the entire city, is branded with this iconic symbol.
And the implications of this were vast.
For example, in Oslo, we couldn’t just go to City Hall.
We had to go to #CityHall. And we had to do the #walkingtour.
Led by the #cutestNorwegianladyever: Kari. (She was seriously #adorable and also super #knowlegeable.) She told us about the history and the art of #CityHall, and how the famous #NobelPeacePrize is awarded here every year.
It was a similar story when we went to the #Holmenkollen ski jump.
This sci-fi-esque contraption hosts the prestigious #HolmenkollenSkiFestival every year, and was also a venue for the 1952 #Olympics. #goNorway #goUSA #theonlytimeiwatchsports
The ski jump also provides an amazing, dizzying #aerialview of #Oslo. #YASSS
And when we went to the National Gallery to see The Scream, it wasn’t just awesome. It was #awesome.
#ahhhhhhhhhhh #scream #famous #😱
I know what you’re thinking. And it sounds a lot like something Michael said to me in Oslo:
“Bri, I love you. but you have to stop doing the hashtag thing.”
And I was like ummm #sarcasm? Because clearly, I’m #winning.
And he was like ughhhh #ineedadrink.
Which is sometimes how he says #iloveyou and also #pleasekeepdoingwhatyouredoing.
Plus, the logo was everywhere. So I couldn’t just stop!
The moment my mind would start to wander (or get distracted by recording a Dubsmash), there would be another hashtag on yet another form of transit, patiently reminding me that it was my solemn duty to verbally live tweet our adventures.
And even if I managed to forget upon embarkation, they were right there on the seats.
And on the tickets too!
So there was pretty much no escaping it.
I was really curious about how this logo came to be, and I decided to investigate. #nancydrew #internetsupersleuth
But, unfortunately, I couldn’t get any definitive answers. So after trying a variety of likely Google search terms and coming up empty, I decided to go straight to the source. I contacted Ruter, the public transport authority for Oslo and Akershus counties, hoping to get an answer.
(Of note: This also involved some serious Google Translate. Because the Ruter contact form is entirely in #Norwegian.)
I wasn’t actually expecting an answer, but I was really hoping for one.
So just imagine my surprise and delight(!) when I received an email with the subject: “Oslo/Akershus public transport: the short story behind the symbol.”
#SHOCKED. #BLESSED. #STOKED.
This is what the design manager at Ruter had to say.
There was one line in that email that stuck out to me in particular…
“The hash-tag (#) is not the same, and is not to be used in any communication.”
I also watched the video (in Norwegian), and although I didn’t understand a single word, I did understand the images.
Apparently it’s totally not a hashtag, you guys. So don’t do hashtag fingers, and don’t verbally live tweet your adventures. Just calmly buy your ticket, get on the public transit, and proceed to your next location.
And even if it’s not a hashtag logo, the public transit was still phenomenal. There are buses, trams, trains, ferries, and a six-line metro, all included in Ruter’s ticket system. Which makes getting around the city super fast and easy.
So if you go to Oslo… and take the tram to Ekeberg… and see a *really* beautiful view of the city….
Go ahead, #hashtag your heart out. I won’t tell anybody.