I’m sure most of you are very aware of the popular trend of hashtags that has come about. We use them on Twitter, on Instagram, on Snapchat, on Facebook, YouTube, and more. It’s even become a thing to say, out loud, in a real-time conversation, “Hashtag ______”. But, you may be wondering, where did this hashtag craze begin? How did the pound sign become a symbol of characterization and funny quotes?
The beginning of hashtags as we know them, is claimed to have begun on Twitter. But hashtags were used long before that, in around 1988 to be more specific, on a platform called Internet Relay Chat, aka IRC. They were similarly used, as they are now, for the categorizing and grouping of certain messages, photos, videos, and other content regarding the same topics, and so on and so forth. Technically a hashtag is almost like a navigation tool, leading you to be able to find all the other relative and similar content all grouped together.
In October of 2007, a man living in San Diego, California, named Nate Ridder, began adding the hashtag “#sandiegofire” to all of his posts with the intention of spreading awareness of the ongoing wildfires in the area. But, the first person to actually address these little characterizing symbols as hashtags, was a blogger named Stowe Boyd in August, 2007.
Two years later, by July of 2009, Twitter had begun actively using hashtags, and any word before the # symbol became hyperlinked. Further down the line, Twitter started the “Trending Topics” page, which then took the most commonly used hashtags and displayed them and the tweets containing them on that very page. It was here, and when Twitter began gaining popularity, that the global hashtag trend truly skyrocketed.
Hashtags have actually evolved to take on other uses and meanings since their ‘birth’ on Twitter, and are now used for means other than grouping similar content. People on Instagram, for example, commonly use hashtags – that much of the time are not even related to their post – to boost views and likes and to draw traffic to their Instagram profiles. People have also adopted the use of hashtags as to simply “label” their pictures, or to add a bit of humor to a post. Many times, users sarcastically add hashtags to their Instagram posts, or even just put a funny quote after the # to spice it up a bit.
Any social media marketing expert in Dallas can tell you that although hashtags are extremely useful and fun, they can also have negative outcomes. It has been seen many times that a company or a person starts a hashtag with a particular intention, and a huge backlash causes parodic reposts and the hashtag becomes a complete joke, or takes on the complete wrong meaning. And in the end, it all reflects badly on the company or user who started it… who initially had something much different in mind.
In any case, hashtags can be extremely beneficial if used in a proficient manner. If you’re looking to jump start the online marketing for your business, you may be searching for a social media marketing agency in Dallas. The search is over. Here at GSDM, we are an innovative and passionate group of online marketing experts, who are excited to help you grow your business. Head over to our contact page today, and let’s get started.