Twitter has traced the birth of the term “hashtag” to August 2007, during the early days of the social networking service. On 23 August 2007, Chris Messina -- officially the 1,186th user on Twitter -- tweeted "How do you feel about using # (pound) for groups. As in #barcamp [msg]?" He thought that the pound or hash symbol (#) would be useful in organizing group conversations about related tweets. He also suggested that Twitter co-founders Jack Dorsey and Biz Stone consider adopting the practice. Stone sarcastically responded: “Sure, we'll get right on that.” Now, 10 years later, the lowly symbol that used to indicate a number (as in #2 pencil) has become a social media staple. About 125 million hashtags are used by Twitter's 328 million users every day.
Four intersecting lines, one useful tool:
- A devastating fire in San Diego County in 2007 sparked the first widespread use of a hashtag -- #sandiegofire allowed users to easily track updates.
- In 2009, Twitter officially adopted the hashtag, adding hyperlinks so that users could click on a hashtag to instantly search for tweets on the same topic.
- Hashtags are now also used on other social networks, including Instagram, Tumblr, and Facebook.