When Twitter was launched in 2006 it was very basic in comparison to what it is today. Its first users were asked to simply share updates with their friends and colleagues in response to a simple question: ‘What are you doing?’ (Burgess, 2015). The platform had no extended functionalities as we know them today and these were only developed over the years mostly via user-led innovations, and only later were integrated into the architecture of the system (Bruns and Burgess, 2015:16).
The # symbol was first used on Twitter by San Francisco based Technologist and Twitter user Chris Messina (@chrismessina) on 23rd August 2007 in a short post which read: ‘how do you feel about using # (pound) for groups. As in #barcamp [msg]? Immediately after that not much happened with hashtags. All they were doing for the next two months was ‘waiting’ for the right disaster to appear, so that they could show their potential to the world. Then it came on 20 October 2007 when sudden bushfires started in the San Diego region of California. That event helped to introduce hashtags to a wider audience and proved that disaster is their foundation stone.
Hashtag is a relatively new word. It was first used in 2007 as a simple user based innovation useful for the organisation of content on Twitter. Since then it has enjoyed a rapid spread on Twitter. This infographic presents a short version of the history of hashtags form August 2007 to November 2013. It starts with the first use of #barcamp hashtag in August 2007 and #sandiegofire hashtag during wildfires in California in October 2007.
Hashtag is a relatively new word. It was first used in 2007 as a simple user based innovation (#barcamp) useful for the organisation of content on Twitter. Since then it has enjoyed a rapid spread (#sandiegofire) on Twitter, across other social media and far beyond. In 2010 ‘Trending topics’ were introduced on Twitter based on the most popular hashtags. In 2012 ‘Hashtag’ was selected as the Word of the Year by The American Dialect Society.
#barcamp is the first hashtag ever used. It was posted by Chris Messina in a Tweet which read: ‘how do you feel about using # (pound) for groups. As in #barcamp [msg]? on 23 Aug 2007. To be precise, this was the first time a word or phrase preceded by a # sign was used in a way that we today describe as a hashtag. The term ‘hashtag’ only came to the existence 3 days later. It was first used by Stowe Boyd on 26 August 2007 in his blog post “Hash Tags = Twitter Groupings”.