The hashtag, #hashtag, is now used across a wide range of social networks by millions of people every day.
But what are the humble origins of the hashtag?
The hashtag’s was initially used to help people using IRC (Internet Relay Chat) put images, videos and other content into groups.
Back in the the late 90’s IRC was a simple a chat system that become very popular as more people get connected to the Internet. IRC enabled people to connect from anywhere on the Internet and join in discussions.
But it wasn’t until 2007 that the hashtag became popular. In 2007, Chris Messina proposed in a Tweet that Twitter should use the hashtag to group topics. Twitter initially rejected the idea. Although initially dismissed by Twitter it’s popularity spread like wildfire (excuse the pun) as a result of journalists using the hashtag #SanDiegoFire in their tweets, at Messina’s suggestion. From there the hashtag became an established way of categorising conversations on Twitter and has since spread to other social networks.
The rest of the history of the hashhtag is neatly explained in this brilliant infographic by Digital Marketing.