History of the Hashtag


Have you ever wondered the history of the hashtag and how it became a staple on social media platforms? They first started being used on a platform called IRC, or Internet Relay Chat, in 1988. Chris Messina “invented” the hashtag. He believed that Twitter needed an organized way to group topics together. He then noticed a pound sign in front of chat rooms on the Internet and it sparked his imagination. Next, he pitched the idea of using a pound sign to Twitter, but was sadly declined, with Twitter saying it was too “nerdy” and no one would use it. Suddenly, that all started to change with an influential person. Stowe Boyd, a blogger, started to use them in posts in August 2007, and it generated popularity. Eventually, in 2009, Twitter started using them as well, realizing that they would be a success. Words that were shown with a hashtag in front of it were then hyper-linked, grouping similar information together. Therefore, trends also began to become increasingly used because of hashtags. When hashtags were associated with one another, information became combined, so, for example, if numerous people said, (#CN), it would become a “trending topic”. Additionally, hashtags can be used in personal circumstances. From family to friends, using a hashtag can quickly group information about a person together so they can find something specific all in the same place. Businesses often use hashtags to group certain products or brands together and generate popularity. Moreover, brands can even use hashtags to keep up with competitors. On the other hand, in the present, there can be a few downsides to using hashtags because there are no rules or guidelines. A few major brands have had hashtags become used to negatively impact their business. Finally, in 2010 Instagram launched hashtags in their program. A person could tag photos or videos. Contradictingly, some users did not want to get involved with this new trend and started hashtag activism. Unsurprisingly, their movement did not stop the use of hashtags. They are now commonly used to start movements that shape society. Even with universal usage, Messina never made a penny off of his creation. Presently, most social media platforms allow the use of hashtags. For instance, TikTok, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Facebook, and LinkedIn all use hashtags. A person can use up to 30 hashtags per post. Once people realized how this new symbol worked they immediately skyrocketed. On average there are 4.2 billion Instagram posts per day, and with 30 hashtags per post, that is a total of 126 billion hashtags used daily just on Instagram, not including all the other social media platforms. Over the course of 10 years, they went from scarcely known to a technological feature used worldwide. To finish, hashtags are used in daily lives and are a staple in the social media realm