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Happy Birthday Hashtag – # founded August 23rd, 2007 ten years ago

by Milicent Atieno

You definitely know of the hashtag (#) and probably use it every day, if not every hour, but do you know the man who came up with it and when? Well, the # was started by Chris Messina, a former engineer at Google and Uber, back in 2007.

At the time, Messina’s friends in San Francisco were complaining of getting too much feeds on their Twitter with messages about the South by Southwest conference. They were not even the least bit interested in those messages, at the same time, it made them work to get the messages they were really interested in.

It is during that time that they pondered on the idea of creating a platform where they could go to get useful information. A sort of filter separating the noise from the news they are really after.  Messina thought of coming up with a signal that lets users with common interest communicate under it, which will separate their tweets from the rest.

Suggestions were being given here and there, one of which was creating a forum where users interested in a certain topic could go to, but Messina wanted to keep it simple. He embarked on a research and resolved to use the pound sign.

He made the first hashtag tweet, “#barcamp,” and with it set the ball of # in rolling motion. The ball has been rolling picking up momentum over the years to become part and parcel of modern day social media communication. The hashtag started being used by like-minded people to talk about a topic of common interest. That way, it was easier to sieve out tweets unrelated to the topic of interest.

Some of the biggest Hashtags in Twitter History

According to Twitter, TV show ‘The Walking Dead’ hold the record of the most talked about hashtag in the world [#TheWalkingDead]. Surprisingly, it is not ‘Game of Thrones’ (#GOT) that is the most popular hashtag in the world; though it is slowly getting there.

At the end of 2007, the most tweeted hashtag was tweeted over 9,000 times. Currently, the world record holder hashtag was tweeted over 300 million times.

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