Now, the Twitter hashtag was created with a tweet.
How do you feel about using # (pound) for classes. As in #barcamp [msg]?
–⌗ChrisMessina (@chrismessina) August 23, 2007
Organizing tweets around topics was impossible when Twitter started in March 2006. Twitter was only a flow of musings and ideas. The proposal to actually have group discussions came from Chris Messina, a Silicon Valley merchandise and design guy who made the idea whilst working at a startup before heading on to stints at Google and Uber. And while the hashtag had been employed before — such as for IRC chat room names — utilizing it allowed individuals who wanted to talk to actually locate each other. What made it even more perfect was that Messina was an individual of Twitter, not an employee. That the fact that Twitter took this hashtag’s idea and rushed onto it says a great deal about the system and how ideas can be embraced by it .
125 million hashtags ago and fast-forward ten years are now shared on Twitter. The hashtag has been adopted by Facebook and Instagram, also has rooted itself. (“Hashtag blessed”)
And while Twitter is observing today by encouraging the rise of popular, non-political hashtags such as #FollowFriday, #NowPlaying and #ThrowbackThursday (please, no more old photos), the hashtag’s most significant contribution from the U.S. and abroad has been its capacity to rally the net around more critical thoughts and problems.
The #BlackLivesMatter movement organized on Twitter, developed and started. Following the shootings of both Michael Brown and Eric Garner, the hashtags #HandsupDontShoot and #ICantBreathe disperse far and wide bringing more media attention to the shootings.
But it was actually during the Arab Spring of 2011 which the hashtag of Twitter was started on the global stage. Users on the ground put hashtags within their tweets, giving contacts and information to citizens and journalists viewing the conflict around the globe.
President Donald Trump, that has likely used the hashtag prolifically than some politician before him, has tags such as #FakeNews #MAGA and even #FraudNewsCNN to rally his base and attack the media.
Hashtag activism seems to be on the upswing. Although some movements may start on Twitter and eventually manifest from the “real world,” consumers may also be responding to real-world events by shooting to Twitter to endure with others during a catastrophe, or help brands encourage a design. #YesAllWomen, #JeSuisCharlie, #BringBackOurGirls, along with #IceBucketChallenge (that was also big on Facebook) were all hugely popular social activism tags.
Comes the evil, the great and the meh. Irrespective of whether you are tweeting #StupidQuestionsForTheJudge, #TheWalkingDead or even #ootd, you are a part of a Twitter movement.
So #happybirthdaytwitterhashtag. We do not understand what we’d do without you.