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Where does the word #hashtag come from?



Hashtag  is the new Oxford University Press "children's word of the year" 

OUP analysed more than 120,421 short stories by children aged between five and 13 years old, submitted to the BBC's 500 Words competition. source

What is a hashtag?

Hashtags are the # symbols used on Twitter and other social media like Instagram and Facebook.
A hashtag provides a meta data tag or label to indicate the subject of a tweet or a post. This means that messages can be grouped according to content, making them easier to find. A Twitter search for hashtags, for example, will bring up tweets containing #hashtag.

Where does the # come from?
The # symbol was originally used to represent weight in pounds (it's still known as the pound sign by some older users). # also appeared on early touch phones designed by engineers at Bell Labs in the 1960s under a new name: octothorpe.

Octothorpe

The name didn’t catch on but the # symbol became familiar to those working in electronics and IT. And the introduction of automated switchboards, computer keyboards and mobile phones gradually brought octothropes/hashtags into wider use

How did #hashtag enter mainstream English?

Chris Messina, one of the founders of Twitter, saw its potential. On August 23, 2007 at 12:25pm, Messina Tweeted
 "how do you feel about using # (pound) for groups. As in #barcamp [msg]?
Messina assumed that the practice would only be of interest to fellow geeks. But as the Twitter expanded the hashtag became #everpresent. 


So how much does Mr Messina makes for every #?

Not a cent, centime or penny. Staying true to the 'open-source' idealism of the early  Messina didn't patent his idea. That is why every tweeter is free to sprinkle posts with hashtags. 


Is there a protocol to using hashtags?

Using hashtags well is an art that not all tweeters have mastered. Politicians, for example, would be well-advised to replace tedious, self-serving platitudes:(#hardworking) with amusing trivia like #CareerEndingTwitterTypos or #1LetterWrongMovie.

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