They may seem annoying because they are usually followed by a chain of words that have no space separating them. However, these guys are of significant importance especially on social media. When used correctly, they make for a rewarding experience for everyone.

Hashtags have quite the history on the Internet. It extends well beyond Twitter, where many of us first experienced them. This is a brief history on the #hashtag.


It was, for decades, referred to as the pound sign. Today, it has evolved into a greatly significant symbol and has surely dominated social media. It is a cyber-appendage that social media users attach to words or strings of words that have a certain amount of relevance. Tagging keywords, phrases and other strings of texts and letters is what social media users do to track topics and conversations, as well as provide the ability to other users as well.


Back in 1988, the Internet Relay Chat (IRC) used hashtags to categorize items such as messages, images, video and other content into groups. They made it possible for the IRC users to easily search for relevant and other associated content.


19 years later, in 2007, Chris Messina introduced hashtags to the then 1-year-old Twitter. This is the everlasting tweet he sent on August 23rd 2007:


Later on that year, Nate Ritter updated the world on what was going on in San Diego, CA, when he appended his tweets with the #sandiegofire hashtag.


In 2009, Twitter officially adopted the use of hash tag into code, automatically hyperlinking terms appended with the ‘#’ sign. In 2010, the terms “trending” and “trending topics” became highly associated with social media when Twitter began highlighting hashtags on its homepage based on their popularity.

Who Uses #Hashtags?:


With time, other social media players acknowledged the use of hashtags and started supporting them. Twitter, of course is where they were first used and to date, they are still prevalent there. They are used as a tool for delivering highly targeted brand messages for businesses as part of social media marketing. You can then join the trending conversations.

In June of 2013, Facebook joined the craze. Just like Twitter, Facebook incorporated hash tags and provided them with unique URL’s for each hash tag, so that you can connect with your audience when you click on a hash tag.

Pinterest have also joined the craze. Here, the hashtag will make your content tagged with a #uniquehashtag, visible to all users searching for a particular topic, when they click on the hashtag on your profile or from another user.

Hashtags on Instagram make your photos discoverable by targeted audiences. If not used, they remain private. Businesses on Instagram can use hashtags to influence and create brand followers.

Google+ have not been left behind. There, the hashtags provide a way for your posts to get better results in the search engine results. A hashtag on Google+ brings back a result of other posts tagged with the same hashtag as well as your own.

YouTube have also jumped into the hashtags bandwagon. Hashtag use within YouTube is most prevalent in the comments section. Users can leave comments with hashtags, which will then click through to a page with videos that contain that hashtag in their title.

Other giants using hashtags include Tout, Tumblr, FriendFeed, App.net, Kickstarter, Vine, Flickr, and GitHub.


Did You Know?:

The first published use of the term “hash tag” was in a blog post by Stowe Boyd, “Hash Tags = Twitter Groupings” on August 26, 2007.


As your business grow more competitive through digital marketing, boost the effectiveness of your efforts by making use of new and more effective ways of generating interraction and engagement with targeted audiences. Hashtags have proved to be a new and exciting way to do this, particularly in boosting your new or existing social media marketing campaign. When used properly, hashtags can be a very powerful tool for connecting with potentially thousands or even millions of targeted audiences worldwide.

Post Author: Mũigai Mũya

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