Believe it or not, the “hashtag” is turning 10! On August 23, 2007, a Twitter user names Chris Messina used the first hashtag on Twitter (which was “#Barcamp”). Nowadays there are around 125 million hashtags tweeted every single day. When using a hashtag with your social media post, you are essentially adding a hyperlink which helps categorize your post to other posts who use that hashtag (within a social media network). Using hashtags helps with searchability, relatability, and overall entertain-ability.
This was the first tweet/social media post to use a hashtag:
how do you feel about using # (pound) for groups. As in #barcamp [msg]?
— Chris Messina (@chrismessina) August 23, 2007
The first tweet with a hashtag is quite anticlimactic however what unfolded after this tweet is history. The hashtag usage spread to other social media networks and is now deeply rooted in social media culture. Hashtags are awesome and can be used for good or can really damage a brand.
My Favourite Hashtag Campaign
I’m a huge fan of the #IceBucketChallenge campaign. This campaign included dumping ice water on your head, sharing this moment on social media and donating money to ALS. My best friend’s father lost his life to ALS so this one was not only near to my Hart/heart, but it raised money and awareness for the ALS Association (even though they didn’t actually start the hashtag).
The #McDStories hashtag fail has to be my favourite hashtag campaign gone wrong. The Internet is full of people who love to jump on the bandwagon, especially when hilarity will ensue.
McDonald’s goal was to take the world of Twitter behind the scenes to show its commitment to fresh produce by using #MeetTheFarmers when tweeting. They also sent the following tweet, which the Internet has a hay-day with: “‘When u make something w/ pride, people can taste it,’ McD potato supplier #McDstories.”
I think it’s safe to say that a lot of us have had something ridiculous happen to us at Mc D’s so I’m sure you can imagine how this was quickly turned upside down.
The Future of Hashtags
Hashtags are not going anywhere and they have become a part of the social media world. People use them for communicating at events, for curating candid wedding shots, brands use them for marketing, advocates use them to spread their opinions and a lot of people use them daily, just because! I think that social media platforms may improve the functionality on how to find other posts related to hashtags and I think it would be awesome to be able to search a hashtag on one platform and have posts appear from other networks (e.g. I can search #shayneblairwed in Facebook and posts using the hashtag on Instagram and Twitter will also appear). Hashtags are here to stay and if you haven’t already, embrace them and love them.