What we named the # symbol in the days before the internet depended on where we were raised. It was known as the pound sign or the number sign in the United States and Canada, but it was known as a hash in the United Kingdom and Ireland. However, we all refer to the # as a hashtag on the internet.
The name “hashtag” originated from programmer culture, according to Stowe Boyd, who published the first documented usage of the term. He and his buddies would refer to the symbol as the hash, not the pound sign.
Today, the symbol is so widely used in social media that almost every major social media platform has a hashtag feature.
On Internet Relay Chat (IRC), the first hash symbol was used to mark groups and topics that were available across the entire network in 1988. They were used to group together comparable messages and content to make it easier for consumers to discover what they needed.
Hashtags were not always available on Twitter. Users complained that it was a bit of a free for all in the beginning, and that they were seeing irrelevant stuff. Chris Messina, looking for a solution to this challenge, was inspired by IRC and launched the first Twitter hashtag on August 23, 2007. However, it wasn’t until the October 2007 California wildfires that the hashtag became popular.
Despite the fact that Twitter did not support the hashtag in 2007, Chris Messina saw an opportunity to promote it. Nate Ritter, a California citizen, was prolifically tweeting about the wildfires. Messina also noticed that #SanDiegoFire was being used as a Flickr tag at the same time. This prompted Messina to contact Ritter and propose that all pertinent tweets include the hashtag #SanDiegoFire.
Ritter’s tweets became so well-known that Twitter users began grouping pertinent content using hashtags. Twitter officially accepted them in 2009, introducing a search engine that allowed users to discover who else was using a specific hashtag. Twitter debuted “Trending Topics” the next year, which shows the most popular hashtags at any given time.
Other platforms soon adopted hashtags, and they became part of the online language. Instagram, which was founded in 2010, has been using them since the beginning. They were joined on Facebook in 2013. Users on Google+, Tumblr, and Pinterest can also utilise the # symbol to organise material.
Hashtags have evolved from a useful way to group material to an invaluable tool since their introduction to the mainstream internet