If you’re on Twitter, or even on Facebook, Tumblr, WordPress, etc., you see hashtags attached to tweets, within status updates, in posts and in links.
What is a hashtag? How did the hashtag come about? Who started it and where will it go?
In the post “The Hashtag Economy” from Brian Solis, Solis explains that, “In social media, “x” no longer marks the spot, “#” is now the indicator for popular culture and all that moves it.”
In today’s very social economy, the hashtag indicates the Twitter information exchange and what we are valuing/consuming as a society. According to Solis, “Each hashtag represents revolving markets with varying lifespans determined by the significance of the conversation and its continuously fleeting demand. Some last only minutes, while others endure for hours or days.”
That’s where trending topics, scheduled Twitter chat hashtags and other conversations come from. While the # sign used to be seen as the number sign, many people now only identify the sign as the hashtag symbol.
Anytime you see the # on Twitter attached with a few various words or numbers behind it, you can click that hashtaged phrase and see what other people are saying about the same topic.
It is literally changing how we are talking and relating to each other. You can hear hashtags in daily conversations, daily tweets, daily statuses and daily texts. The hashtag is showing up everywhere.
So where did it come from?
In 2007, Chris Messina, who is now considered the father of the hashtag, simply asked, “how do you feel about using # (pound) for groups?”
The Tweet led to a series of conversations within the Twitterverse with thoughts from Stowe Boyd, Chris Heuer, Stephanie Booth, Brian Oberkirch and many others. Brian Solis himself also joined the conversation stating that #hashtags would create channels that “will improve the Twitter experience.” Unlike Groups, hashtags were meant to organize conversations in the stream. The introduction of the “#” also introduced a psychological phenomenon where people consciously injected a word or expression that indexed the Tweet and ultimately entire threads, according to Solis.
Many others have looked into the hashtag phenomenon, including The New York Times investigation of the marvel of hashtags and for the most part, talk of the essence of this powerful expression mark, according to Solis.
Almost every single person on Twitter has created his or her own hashtag at some point. Hashtags are also the connection for hundreds of people across the US and the world for people to participate in Twitter chats.
What is your favorite hashtag you’ve seen? How do you use hashtags?