Twitter is celebrating 10 years of one of its most popular and controversial features – hashtag (#).
The hashtag is Twitter’s shorthand for bringing together a conversation on anything. Over the past decade, it has become a big part of pop culture.
It first appeared on Twitter when one of its developers Chris Messina, tweeted #barcamp to open group conversations about related tweets and help users navigate the platform faster. The “barcamp” he referred to is a user-generated conference that typically discusses tech or the internet, Russia Today wrote. Now, Twitter says an average of 125 million hashtags are shared daily to spark conversations.
Hashtags are not exclusive to Twitter. Facebook, Instagram, and Tumblr use also use hashtags.
Here are some interesting #facts: The term “hashtag” was officially added to Merriam Webster dictionary in 2014. The most popular hashtag of all time, used over one billion times, is #NowPlaying.
Hashtags have also helped charities raise awareness such as the #IceBucketChallenge which helped raise $100 million for Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) research in a viral campaign.
During the past decade, hashtags were also used as tools for political activism and solidarity – #BringBackOurGirls, when Boko Haram militants kidnapped 276 girls in northeastern Nigeria, or #JeSuisCharlie after the attack at the offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
To mark the 10-year anniversary of the wildly popular symbol, Twitter has created a special #Hashtag10, which adds a special emoji.