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The Hashtag—The Little Engine That Could

Jun 21, 2013   //   by astahr   //   Work Samples  //  Comments Off on The Hashtag—The Little Engine That Could

small-business-marketingPressing pound for more options no longer works solely on the telephone. Now, the pound sign with the more-popular moniker—hashtag—is everywhere. Even Facebook has joined the hashtag game, perhaps as more of a “everyone else is doing it so we should too” factor than something that was a target on Facebook’s wishlist.

This little symbol is clearly a powerful tool. It somehow infiltrated one of, if not the largest social networks of our time that was never designed to have a hashtag. It’s so powerful that users misuse the sign daily, just as an excuse to insert it into their content. Let’s take a look back at the hashtag’s short journey into stardom.

The first use of the term “hash tag” was in a blog post by Stowe Boyd, “Hash Tags=Twitter Groupings.”

According to hashtags.org, the first hashtag was used by Chris Messina, a social technology expert, way back in August 2007. His Twitter post read, “How do you feel about using # (pound) for groups. As in #barcamp?” The purpose was to gather discussions and online exchanges regarding Barcamp, a worldwide gathering. Since that first Tweet, the hashtag soared and became more than a search function tag, despite that being its initial intended use. Twitter began introducing “trending topics” on its home page in 2010, giving a shout out to hashtag themes that were popular that day.

A symbol that is supposed to label groups and topics, however, quickly became used (or misused, however one looks at it) in other areas as a way to denote feelings or context. Facebook was a common victim of this happenstance, because there was no way to search on Facebook using a hashtag—until now. Thanks to various platforms that sync with Facebook, namely Instagram, the migration of the hashtag to Facebook was inevitable.

No matter how you use your hashtag, this mighty little symbol has changed the face of social media forever. #amazing

 

 

 

 

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