It’s become part of nearly every post shared online; but it’s also made its way into public vernacular. On Friday, Aug. 23, 2019, the hashtag marked its 12th birthday.
It was first used on Aug. 23, 2007, by Chris Messina on Twitter.
That first message was retweeted and liked thousands of times.
Since then, hashtags have been used to track and group together topics online, from politics (#MMIWG) and local weather events (#abstorm), to TV shows (#GameOfThrones) and sports teams (#BlueJays). It’s also spread to other social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram.
“It’s incredible to see what a big part of how we communicate — not only on Twitter, but across culture — that the hashtag has become,” Michael Palombo, head of entertainment for Twitter Canada, told Global News.
“To think something that was used to categorize and connect conversation is now being used as a fundamental part of brand marketing campaigns and everything in between.”
Palombo remembers joining Twitter in 2008.
“You actually learned to speak in hashtags and you would see hashtags not only show up on Twitter, but then you started using them on Facebook. Then, when Instagram came into the game, it sort of spiraled from there.”
Between Jan. 1, 2019 and Jan. 31, 2019, the most used hashtags in Canada were: #BellLetsTalk, #cdnpoli, #BTS and #WeTheNorth.