History of the Twitter #Hashtag

Last Thursday Twitter made its S-1 filing available to the public, shedding some light on its initial public offering plans. Twitter has seen many changes since launching, the hashtag being one of them. With 100 million users tweeting daily, not many actually know how the hashtag originated.

On august 23, 2007 the Twitter hashtag was born. Chris Messina tweeted “how do you feel about using # (pound) for groups. As in #barcamp?” The trend followed. A hashtag is a word or phrase prefixed with the pound symbol. The pound symbol is placed either before important words within the tweet or appended to it. For example, “On Tuesdays I take #RTV 2102 #UCF #Communications.”

Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram and Facebook are all social media sites utilizing the hashtag. Today, hashtags make tweets more meaningful and findable. They provide a means of grouping since one can search for a particular hashtag, say #UCF, and receive the set of messages that contain it. This is a powerful tool for businesses and is also used by celebrities to promote movies, albums, etc.

In July of 2009 Twitter began to hyperlink all hashtags in tweets to Twitter search results for the hashtagged word. Twitter now has “Trending Topics” on the home page insolating hashtags that are rapidly becoming popular. The hashtag, an addition to Twitter, has shaped the way social media revolves.

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