Octothorpe, or the history of the hashtag

Photo: "Hashtag" by Ken Varnum CC-BY-NC

Photo: “Hashtag” by Ken Varnum CC-BY-NC

Twitter has played an important role in the history of the ILN, it was the first social network we used with the program and continues to form an important tool for real time conversations for librarians from around the globe. So I was intrigued to listen this week to a podcast talking about the hashtag and it’s very interesting history. It’s a true contemporary tale of information management providing useful optimisations to everyday things.

It begins:

If you want to follow conversation threads relating to this show on social media—whether Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, Tumblr—you know to look for the hashtag: #99pi. In our current digital age, the hashtag identifies movements, events, happenings, brands—topics of all kinds. The “#” didn’t always have this meaning, though.

It’s had a few different lives.

The hashtag, as we know it, was born one day in 2007. An early Twitter user named Chris Messina, in anticipation of an event called BarCamp, tweeted…

Check out this podcast, and many more excellent episodes about design in everyday life, over at 99 Percent Invisible.

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