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.
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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