This year, the world celebrates the 10-year anniversary of the life-changing hashtag. What seemed like a weird idea at the beginning of its time has now turned into a universal symbol for connecting users together.
On August 23, 2007, the #hashtag was born on Twitter. Now, you may be wondering what the first ever hashtag tweet was? User Chris Messina was the first person to utilise the hashtag as an icon to bring a group together.
Now, the hashtag is a significant part of daily online life. But it’s journey may not be what you expect.
Messina had pushed for the hashtag to become a part of Twitter long before its acceptance, however Twitter staff and CEO’s found the concept “too nerdy”, and didn’t understand its potential to become a tracking device to bring people, communities and posts together.
But Messina kept pushing his idea to outsiders and users alike, and within weeks, people were using the hashtag to join in conversations and track topics. Eventually, Twitter didn’t have a choice but to jump on board with the idea and hyperlink hashtags into its useability.
Today, the hashtag is the common denominator that brings people together into online communities. From being a place to turn to when major world news breaks, to creating a themed hashtag for your birthday bash or marketing idea, the hashtag seems like the right happy accident that has allowed us all to connect over mutual interests or events.
When asked why Messina didn’t patent the hashtag to become a moneymaking brand, he said:
I had no interest in making money directly off hashtags. They are born of the Internet and should be owned by no one. The value and satisfaction I derive from seeing my funny little hack used as widely as it is today is valuable enough for me to be relieved that I had the foresight not to try to lock down this stupidly simple but effective idea.
There’s no escaping the fact that the hashtag has well and truly taken over our lives, but what seems to be the better question is how will it progress in the future to keep up with modern technologies, like virtual reality and advancing computer and phone software. It’s been a great 10 years of memories, madness and universal bonding. And if we’ve come this far in a decade, imagine where we’ll be in 2027…