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What is an octothorpe?

In the 1960s engineers at Bell Labs were designing the first touch keyboard telephones.

One key, originally used to represent weight in pounds - was commonly known as the pound sign. They gave this # symbol a new name: the octothorpe.


The # symbol became familiar to those working in electronics and IT. And the introduction of automated switchboards, computer keyboards and mobile phones gradually brought octothorpes/hashtags into wider use

How did the octothorpe become the #hashtag?

Chris Messina, one of the founders of Twitter, saw its potential. On August 23, 2007 at 12:25pm, Messina Tweeted:

Fellow techies applauded the idea. But one, Stowe Boyd, suggested a rebrand for the humble #. It needed a catchier new name: hashtag.

Messina and Boyd assumed that the newly minted hashtag would only be of interest to fellow geeks. But as the Twitter expanded the # became #everpresent. 


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