#HistoryOfHashtags

-Jesse Guthrie

 

We all are known to use them. While some may harshly abuse their freedom of using the symbol, the hashtag symbol has become a great tool for connecting a single idea to potentially millions of other viewers. The symbol has been around since the 1970’s and was originally used as a symbol to highlight important text throughout informational technology, however, the symbol has adapted to a new and more prominent use by way of social media today. On sites such as Twitter and Facebook, putting the hashtag, or pound symbol (#), before a term immediately allows that phrase to be a searchable link to the site.

There are a few Do’s and Don’ts to hashtag’s however. When using more than one word in a single hashtagged phrase, never put a space. Instead, use capital letters in place of the space. An example would be use #SpongeBobSquarePants, in place of #sponge #bob #square #pants. The recommended number of hashtagged phrases used in any post should be limited. A recommended amount would be one to three because to many hashtags can cause a viewer to lose interest in what is being presented. Another good pointer is numbers are supported inside of hashtags. The numbers are able to give specificity to events, for example #WorldCup14. Also, punctuation marks are not allowed inside of a hashtagged phrase.

Though hashtags have become universally used across all social media platforms, Twitter is still the father of the new use of the symbol. Twitter offers a unique option on its site to see what is trending. This is a list of all the popular phrases or events that are being hashtagged in the area nearest you. It allows people to connect at similar events, or reach out to those with similar interests. A hashtag really gives voice and tone to what is being said in the post. Usually being sarcastic, like “Just got a $75 parking ticket! #Awesome”, or meaningful, “About to take my last final of the term! #excited #summer14”.

Hashtags are a great way for marketers to reach a whole new audience. It allows a company to get a feel for what us consumers are talking about and can curate their marketing message to our personal likes or dislikes. For example, Aquafina Water could reach out and broadcast a message to all users who tweeted with a hashtag “#thristy”, and generate enough buzz about their product through social media that it eventually could create sales of their water bottles. The hashtag can also give a company’s twitter page a little more personality by use of hashtags in creative or humorous ways.
The hashtag has become an important tool in the world of social media today.

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