Hashtags are now used regularly by millions of social media users, especially among members of Twitter. A “hashtag,” is created by online users to discuss specific events and relevant issues in their lives. These hashtags are arranged so that other online users can easily search for the topic and join in the conversation, no matter where they are in the world. Hashtags are created by using the (#) symbol and next to it a word or a small phrase that expresses what the user is feeling or wants to covey to others in a post. Once the hashtag has been created, it becomes a hyperlink and by clicking on it people can read what other social media users posted if they used the same hashtag without following them.
Chris Messina, a social technology expert, is credited to have come up with the very first hashtag on Twitter. Messina first posted the hashtag #barcamp in August 2007. Messina came up with the hashtag with the purpose of gathering discussions and online exchanges regarding Barcamp. Barcamp is a technology conference that spans worldwide, says the article “ The first hashtag ever tweeted” . Since then, hashtags have spread to other social media sites and all over the Internet such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Vine, to become one of the most widely used functions. According to reports on the last mention website, Evan Williams, Twitter founder, actually shared to Messina that he didn’t think that hashtags were going to be very popular because of their very technical approach.
Hashtags became popular that even big companies from all around the world and important people use them to get more followers and increase their brand recognition such as celebrities, social media experts, educators, institutions, clothing lines, etc. A good example of how hashtags are very popular is by going back to the 2014 Academy Award Ceremony when the host, Ellen DeGeneres, used the hashtag #oscars on every post she made while hosting the ceremony. She also took a group “selfie” photo and used once again the hashtag #oscar on her post. That photo was the most retweeted tweet ever with 3.3 million retweets.
Many online users who have an Instagram, use hashtags to describe their actions, mood or whose in the picture with them. Users who use hashtags on Instagram try to receive more “likes” on the videos or pictures they post. Now the hashtag is being used in conversations as well as text messages.
The hashtag is already taking over mobile conversations, increasing the power of the Tweet, and enabling social media users to search and connect social conversations like never before. Hashtags have shown to be one of the most useful tools on Twitter and other social media platforms to bring in relevant audiences that will help spread information about related products and services. Hashtags not only help companies spread their products and services but they also allow the average person to express the way they are feeling or what they are doing as well. This is changing the way people are communicating with each other online as well as text messaging.
Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake had to make video about how ridiculous the hashtag phenomenon has become.