It went quietly celebrated and relatively unnoticed, but the hashtag that we have come to know and love when posting to social media turned 10 last week. It all started with a simple Tweet on August 23, 2007:

 

 

And so it began…. Chris Messina suggested using the hashtag (or “pound”) to organize tweets to make them easily identifiable. Specifically, he was concerned because he noted many tweets talking about an upcoming conference, but no good way to find them all easily. In the video below, Chris explains the birth of the hashtag.

 

 

While the hashtag was first born into social media ten years ago, it took another three years before it really started taking off as a means of online communication. The Tea Party was one who really started used the hashtag feature in 2010 to streamline messages, and from there, a new form of communication was born. Today, hashtags are not only used on Twitter, and are used for more reasons than Chris likely imagined; heck, the younger set even “talks hashtag” – I once overheard a teenager say something like, “I can’t believe I missed that concert, hashtag first world problems.”

 

Here are some fun facts about the hashtag and social media:

 

  • The hashtag was not used first on Twitter. In fact, it was used in chat rooms as early as 1998

 

  • There are around 125 million hashtags used on Twitter on a daily basis

 

  • Top hashtag used in 2016 was #Rio2016. #Election2016 and #PokemonGo were close contenders

 

  • The word “hashtag” was added to the dictionary in 2014

 

As the hashtag enters its preteen years, it’ll be interesting to see how it continues to evolve and affect the way we communicate on social media.

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