Ten years ago today, the first hashtag was proposed on Twitter. It was created by former Google engineer Chris Messina, who, along with some friends, were frustrated at lack of organization the social media format had at the time. Inspired by similar uses on internet relay chat, in August of 2007, Chris went straight to Twitter's headquarters, approached co-founder Biz Stone, and suggested they begin using the pound symbols to tag posts.
Soon after, a system for searching and displaying hashtags was devised, and the rest is social media history.
Hashtags provide a way for social media users to tag keywords to topics relevant to their posts, enabling other users to find exactly what they're looking for, and for social mediums as a whole to better track what topics are currently being discussed the most, at any given moment. They even allow users to track news in real time. Hashtags have become so pervasive over the past decade, that currently, over 125 million are used daily, just on Twitter alone. When you add even more on Instagram, Facebook and Tumblr, that's a lot of tagging!
Happy 10th birthday, hashtag! You make using social media so much more efficient!