I know that the solar eclipse on Monday made you feel young again. Maybe it made you feel energetic, inquisitive, motivated to keep exploring. But by now those effects have surely started to wear off, and I have some bad news for you. You’re getting old. How do I know that? Because the hashtag just turned 10.
Even though I’m just starting to hit thirty, there are already lots of things that make me feel old. Reminiscing about blowing into N64 cartridges. Knowing what a payphone is. Kids at the bar who get let in with IDs that say 1996. The fact that "Goodnight Moon" is now "Goodnight iPad." Now I can add the hashtag to that list.
In 2007, Chris Messina, a social technology expert, came up with the idea for using the # (pound) sign on Twitter. His idea kind of stuck. Now, you can’t really be any kind of successful on social media without using hashtags. They let us aggregate ideas and band together behind causes. They allow us to tag photos with ideas and keywords that help them be found by our viewers. I’m not sure there’s another way that would have been as effective as taking one of the most recognizable but little-used symbols on our already existing keyboards and turning it into such a powerful tool with nothing more than a tweet.
If you want to learn more about using hashtags, check out these articles.