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For the symbol that prefaces a hashtag, see Number sign. Hashtag_sentence_0

A hashtag is a metadata tag that is prefaced by the hash symbol, #. Hashtag_sentence_1

Hashtags are widely used on microblogging and photo-sharing services such as Twitter and Instagram as a form of user-generated tagging that enables cross-referencing of content sharing a subject or theme. Hashtag_sentence_2

For example, a search within Instagram for the hashtag #bluesky returns all posts that have been tagged with that hashtag. Hashtag_sentence_3

After the initial hash symbol, a hashtag may include letters, digits, and underscores. Hashtag_sentence_4

The use of hashtags was first proposed by Chris Messina in a 2007 tweet, that, although initially decried by Twitter as a "thing for nerds," eventually led to their use rapidly becoming widespread throughout the platform. Hashtag_sentence_5

Messina, who made no attempt to patent the use because he felt "they were born of the internet, and owned by no one", has subsequently been credited as the godfather of the hashtag. Hashtag_sentence_6

By the end of the decade hashtags could be seen in most emerging as well as established social media platforms including Instagram, Facebook, Reddit, and YouTube — so much so that Instagram had to officially place a "30 hashtags" limit on its posts to prevent people from abusing their use, a limit that Instagrammers eventually circumvented by posting hashtags in the comments section of their posts. Hashtag_sentence_7

As of 2018 more than 85% of the top 50 websites by traffic on the Internet use hashtags and their use is common by millennials, Gen Z, politicians, influencers, and celebrities worldwide. Hashtag_sentence_8

Because of its widespread use, hashtag was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in June 2014. Hashtag_sentence_9

The term hashtag is sometimes erroneously used to refer to the hash symbol itself when used in the context of a hashtag. Hashtag_sentence_10

Formal taxonomies can be developed from the folk taxonomy rendered machine-readable by the markup that hashtags provide. Hashtag_sentence_11

This process is called folksonomy. Hashtag_sentence_12

Origin and uses Hashtag_section_0

The number sign or hash symbol "#" is often used in information technology to highlight a special meaning. Hashtag_sentence_13

(The symbol is also called an "octothorpe" or "pound sign" in the US, and "hash" in the UK) In 1970, for example, the number sign was used to denote immediate address mode in the assembly language of the PDP-11 when placed next to a symbol or a number. Hashtag_sentence_14

In 1978, Brian Kernighan and Dennis Ritchie used # in the C programming language to indicate special keywords that the C preprocessor had to process first. Hashtag_sentence_15

In the 1986 SGML standard, ISO 8879:1986 (q.v. Hashtag_sentence_16

), # is a reserved name indicator (rni) that precedes keyword syntactic literals, --e.g., the primitive content token #PCDATA, used for parsed character data. Hashtag_sentence_17

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) approved in November 1988 recommendation E.161 that put the pound sign on the right side of the 0 in the 4 x 3 button arrangement for push buttons on telephones. Hashtag_sentence_18

This same arrangement is still used today in most software phones (see Android dialer for example). Hashtag_sentence_19

The ITU recommendation had 2 design options for the pound sign: a European version where the hash sign was built with a 90-degree angle and a North-American version with an 80-degree angle. Hashtag_sentence_20

The North-American version seems to have prevailed as most pound signs in Europe now follow the 80-degree inclination. Hashtag_sentence_21

The pound sign was adopted for use within IRC (Internet Relay Chat) networks circa 1988 to label groups and topics. Hashtag_sentence_22

Channels or topics that are available across an entire IRC network are prefixed with a hash symbol # (as opposed to those local to a server, which use an ampersand '&'). Hashtag_sentence_23

The use of the pound sign in IRC inspired Chris Messina to propose a similar system on Twitter to tag topics of interest on the microblogging network. Hashtag_sentence_24

He posted the first hashtag on Twitter: Hashtag_sentence_25

Messina's suggestion to use the hashtag was not adopted by Twitter, but the practice took off after hashtags were widely used in tweets relating to the 2007 San Diego forest fires in Southern California. Hashtag_sentence_26

According to Messina, he suggested use of the hashtag to make it easy for "lay" users to search for content and find specific relevant updates; they were for people who do not have the technological knowledge to navigate the site. Hashtag_sentence_27

Therefore, the hashtag "was created organically by Twitter users as a way to categorize messages." Hashtag_sentence_28

Today they are for anyone, either with or without technical knowledge, to easily impose enough annotation to be useful without needing a more formal system or adhering to many technical details. Hashtag_sentence_29

Internationally, the hashtag became a practice of writing style for Twitter posts during the 2009–2010 Iranian election protests; Twitter users inside and outside Iran used both English- and Persian-language hashtags in communications during the events. Hashtag_sentence_30

The first published use of the term "hash tag" was in a blog post by Stowe Boyd, "Hash Tags = Twitter Groupings," on August 26, 2007, according to lexicographer Ben Zimmer, chair of the American Dialect Society's New Words Committee. Hashtag_sentence_31

Beginning July 2, 2009, Twitter began to hyperlink all hashtags in tweets to Twitter search results for the hashtagged word (and for the standard spelling of commonly misspelled words). Hashtag_sentence_32

In 2010, Twitter introduced "Trending Topics" on the Twitter front page, displaying hashtags that are rapidly becoming popular. Hashtag_sentence_33

Twitter has an algorithm to tackle attempts to spam the trending list and ensure that hashtags trend naturally. Hashtag_sentence_34

Although the hashtag started out most popularly on Twitter as the main social media platform for this use, the use has extended to other social media sites including Instagram, Facebook, Flickr, Tumblr, and Google+. Hashtag_sentence_35

Other uses Hashtag_section_1

The feature has been added to other, non-short-message-oriented services, such as the user comment systems on YouTube and Gawker Media. Hashtag_sentence_36

In the case of the latter, hashtags for blog comments and directly submitted comments were used to maintain a more constant rate of user activity even when paid employees were not logged into the website. Hashtag_sentence_37

Real-time search aggregators such as the former Google Real-Time Search also support hashtags in syndicated posts, meaning that hashtags inserted into Twitter posts can be hyperlinked to incoming posts falling under that same hashtag; this has further enabled a view of the "river" of Twitter posts. Hashtag_sentence_38

Broadcast media Hashtag_section_2

The use of hashtags has extended to television‍—‌a concept that began rising in prominence in the early 2010s. Hashtag_sentence_39

Broadcasters may display a hashtag as an on-screen bug, encouraging viewers to participate in a backchannel of discussion via social media prior to, during, or after the program. Hashtag_sentence_40

Television commercials have sometimes contained hashtags for similar purposes. Hashtag_sentence_41

Hashtag bugs appear on either corner of the screen, or they may appear at the end of an advertisement. Hashtag_sentence_42

While personalities associated with broadcasts, such as hosts and correspondents, also promote their corporate or personal Twitter usernames to receive mentions and replies to posts, usage of related or "branded" hashtags alongside Twitter usernames (e.g., #edshow as well as @edshow) is increasingly encouraged as a microblogging style to "trend" the hashtag (and, hence, the discussion topic) in Twitter and other search engines. Hashtag_sentence_43

Broadcasters also make use of such a style to index select posts for a live broadcast. Hashtag_sentence_44

Chloe Sladden, Twitter's director of media partnerships, identified two types of television-formatted usage of hashtags: hashtags that identify a series being broadcast (e.g., #SunnyFX) and instantaneous, "temporary" hashtags issued by television personalities to gauge topical responses from viewers during broadcasts. Hashtag_sentence_45

Some have speculated that hashtags might take the place of (or co-exist with) the Nielsen television ratings system. Hashtag_sentence_46

An example of trending "temporary" hashtags garnering viewers during broadcasts is observed on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, a variety talk show on NBC. Hashtag_sentence_47

Every Wednesday, Fallon hosts a segment on his show called "Tonight Show Hashtags," which engages viewers by inviting them via Twitter to post humorous stories based on a specific hashtag topic, such as #WhydidIsaythat, #Worstfirstdate, to #Onetimeinclass, reflecting on funny experiences in daily life. Hashtag_sentence_48

By using hashtags, Fallon creates a sense of community and solidarity among his viewers and draws a wider range of viewers through an online platform while they watch a classic, non-interactive television program. Hashtag_sentence_49

Because of its popularity, the "Tonight Show Hashtags" are usually the 'most tweeted hashtag' on Twitter, which promotes the show. Hashtag_sentence_50

By engaging viewers with a lighthearted subject and simple hashtags, Fallon can gauge topical responses from viewers during broadcasts and also use the hashtags to brand his show. Hashtag_sentence_51

The increased usage of hashtags as brand promotion devices has been compared to the promotion of branded "keywords" by AOL in the late 1990s and early 2000s, as such keywords were also promoted at the end of television commercials and series episodes. Hashtag_sentence_52

The late-night television comedy game show @midnight with Chris Hardwick on Comedy Central features a daily game entitled "Hashtag Wars," in which three comedians compete against one another to come up with phrases based on a given hashtag theme. Hashtag_sentence_53

Some hashtags have become famous worldwide. Hashtag_sentence_54

For instance the slogan "Je suis Charlie," which was first used on Twitter as the hashtag #jesuischarlie and #iamcharlie to indicate solidarity with Charlie Hebdo offices attacked in Paris, spread to the internet at large. Hashtag_sentence_55

Purchasing Hashtag_section_3

Since February 2013 Twitter and American Express have collaborated to enable users to pay for discounted goods online by tweeting a special hashtag. Hashtag_sentence_56

American Express members can sync their card with Twitter and pay for offers by tweeting; American Express tweets a response to the member that confirms the purchase. Hashtag_sentence_57

Event promotion Hashtag_section_4

Organized real-world events have used hashtags and ad hoc lists for discussion and promotion among participants. Hashtag_sentence_58

Hashtags are used as beacons by event participants to find each other, both on Twitter and, in many cases, during actual physical events. Hashtag_sentence_59

Companies and advocacy organizations have taken advantage of hashtag-based discussions for promotion of their products, services or campaigns. Hashtag_sentence_60

Political protests and campaigns in the early 2010s, such as #OccupyWallStreet and #LibyaFeb17, have been organized around hashtags or have made extensive usage of hashtags for the promotion of discussion. Hashtag_sentence_61

Hashtags have also been used to promote official events; the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs officially titled the 2018 Russia–United States summit as the "#HELSINKI2018 Meeting". Hashtag_sentence_62

Consumer complaints Hashtag_section_5

Hashtags are often used by consumers on social media platforms to complain about the customer service experience with large companies. Hashtag_sentence_63

The term "bashtag" has been created to describe situations in which a user refers to a corporate social media hashtag to criticise the company or to tell others about poor customer service. Hashtag_sentence_64

For example, in January 2012, McDonald's created the #McDStories hashtag so that customers could share positive experiences about the restaurant chain. Hashtag_sentence_65

But, the marketing effort was cancelled after two hours when McDonald's received numerous complaint tweets rather than the positive stories they were anticipating. Hashtag_sentence_66

Sentiment analysis Hashtag_section_6

The use of hashtags also reveals what feelings or sentiment an author attaches to a statement. Hashtag_sentence_67

This can range from the obvious, where a hashtag directly describes the state of mind, to the less obvious. Hashtag_sentence_68

For example, words in hashtags are the strongest predictor of whether or not a statement is sarcastic—a difficult AI problem. Hashtag_sentence_69

Sports Hashtag_section_7

The YouTuber Spencer FC used the hashtag for the name and crest of his YouTube-based association football team, Hashtag United F.C.. Hashtag_sentence_70

The hashtag is also used in reference to the name of performance action-sports brand, Hashtag Board Co. Hashtag_sentence_71

Since the 2012–13 season, the National Basketball Association (NBA) has allowed fans to vote players in as All-Star Game starters on Twitter and Facebook using #NBAVOTE. Hashtag_sentence_72

The tweets and Facebook posts must include #NBAVOTE along with the player's first and last name or Twitter handle. Hashtag_sentence_73

Style Hashtag_section_8

A hashtag must begin with a hash character followed by other characters, and is terminated by a space or end of message. Hashtag_sentence_74

It is always safe to precede the "#" with a space, and to include letters without diacritics, digits, and underscores. Hashtag_sentence_75

In many cases, other characters are also allowed, in particular, accented characters used in many languages, but handling may vary from one client to another and from time to time as standards evolve. Hashtag_sentence_76

A discussion of hashtag standards suggests that if #Romeo&Juliet is used, different Twitter clients might link to #Romeo, #Romeo&, or #Romeo&Juliet. Hashtag_sentence_77

Hashtags are not case sensitive: a search for "#hashtag" finds "#HashTag". Hashtag_sentence_78

The use of embedded capitals (CamelCase) increases legibility and avoids confusion. Hashtag_sentence_79

A (real) pen shop should use #PenIsland rather than all lower-case. Hashtag_sentence_80

On microblogging and social networking sites hashtags can be inserted anywhere within a text, often at the beginning or the end, but also within the text, usually as a word (e.g., "It is #sunny today"). Hashtag_sentence_81

Languages that do not use word dividers handle hashtags differently. Hashtag_sentence_82

In China, microblogs Sina Weibo and Tencent Weibo use a double-hashtag-delimited #HashName# format, since the lack of spacing between Chinese characters necessitates a closing tag. Hashtag_sentence_83

Twitter uses a different syntax for Chinese characters and orthographies with similar spacing conventions: the hashtag contains unspaced characters, separated from preceding and following text by spaces (e.g., '我 #爱 你' instead of '我#爱你') or by zero-width non-joiner characters before and after the hashtagged element, to retain a linguistically natural appearance (displaying as unspaced '我‌#爱‌你', but with invisible non-joiners delimiting the hashtag). Hashtag_sentence_84

It is considered acceptable to tag a post once when contributing to a specific conversation. Hashtag_sentence_85

Two hashtags are considered acceptable when adding a location to the conversation. Hashtag_sentence_86

Three hashtags are seen by some as the "absolute maximum", and any contribution exceeding this risks "raising the ire of the community." Hashtag_sentence_87

As well as frustrating other users, the misuse of hashtags can lead to account suspensions. Hashtag_sentence_88

Twitter warns that adding hashtags to unrelated tweets, or repeated use of the same hashtag without adding to a conversation can filter an account from search results, or suspend the account. Hashtag_sentence_89

Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake performed a sketch parodying the often incorrect and misunderstood use of hashtags on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon in September 2013. Hashtag_sentence_90

Function Hashtag_section_9

Hashtags are mostly used in unmoderated, ad hoc discussion forums; any combination of characters led by a hash symbol is a hashtag, and any hashtag, if promoted by enough individuals, can "trend" and attract more individual users to discussion. Hashtag_sentence_91

On Twitter, when a hashtag becomes extremely popular, it appears in the "Trending Topics" area of a user's homepage. Hashtag_sentence_92

The trending topics can be organized by geographic area or by all of Twitter. Hashtag_sentence_93

Hashtags are neither registered nor controlled by any one user or group of users. Hashtag_sentence_94

They cannot be "retired" from public usage, meaning that any given hashtag can theoretically be used in perpetuity. Hashtag_sentence_95

They do not contain any set definitions, meaning that a single hashtag can be used for any number of purposes, as chosen by the creators of them. Hashtag_sentence_96

Hashtags intended for discussion of a particular event tend to use an obscure wording to avoid being caught up with generic conversations on similar subjects, such as a cake festival using #cakefestival rather than simply #cake. Hashtag_sentence_97

However, this can also make it difficult for topics to become "trending topics" because people often use different spelling or words to refer to the same topic. Hashtag_sentence_98

For topics to trend, there must be a consensus, whether silent or stated, that the hashtag refers to that specific topic. Hashtag_sentence_99

Hashtags also function as beacons that help users find and "follow" (subscribe) or "list" (organize into public contact lists) other users of similar interest. Hashtag_sentence_100

Television broadcasters such as Channel 4 have employed the hashtag during the transmission of programmes such as First Dates and The Undateables. Hashtag_sentence_101

Research has shown that audience numbers go up when individuals can be interactive by tweeting while viewing a programme. Hashtag_sentence_102

Hashtags can be used on the social network Instagram, by posting a picture and hashtagging it with its subject. Hashtag_sentence_103

As an example, a photo of oneself and a friend posted to the social network can be hashtagged #bffl or #friends. Hashtag_sentence_104

Instagram has banned certain hashtags, some because they are too generic, such as #photography #iPhone #iphoneography, and therefore do not fulfill a purpose. Hashtag_sentence_105

They have also blocked hashtags that can be linked to illegal activities, such as drug use. Hashtag_sentence_106

The ban against certain hashtags has a consequential role in the way that particular subaltern communities are built and maintained on Instagram. Hashtag_sentence_107

Despite Instagram's content policies, users are finding creative ways of maintaining their practices and ultimately circumventing censorship. Hashtag_sentence_108

Famous YouTube bloggers often use hashtags to promote their videos to a wide audience. Hashtag_sentence_109

Thus, by leaving various hashtags under the video, they are trying to increase their views and gain as many likes as possible. Hashtag_sentence_110

Usually, hashtags are left under the video itself in a special line. Hashtag_sentence_111

By clicking on the hashtag you go directly to the link to the video, which are similar in topic. Hashtag_sentence_112

Hashtags are also used informally to express context around a given message, with no intent to categorize the message for later searching, sharing, or other reasons. Hashtag_sentence_113

One of the functions of the hashtag is to serve as a reflexive meta-commentary, which contributes to the idea of how written communication in new media can be paralleled to how pragmatic methodology is applied to speech. Hashtag_sentence_114

In addition, the culture of hashtag has developed due to recent Black Lives Matter movement. Hashtag_sentence_115

In this case hashtags has been used to access vital information and news update on the topic. Hashtag_sentence_116

Similarly, hashtags were used for the #MeToo social movement. Hashtag_sentence_117

It was used to spread awareness and empower people to fight for gender equality. Hashtag_sentence_118

The spreadability function of the hashtag was very impactful for the cause because it allowed for people's messages to reach a wider audience. Hashtag_sentence_119

Through the spread of external information regarding the #MeToo movement empowered by the use of hashtags, has caused for an increase in financial investment towards sexual assault reform. Hashtag_sentence_120

This can help express contextual cues or offer more depth to the information or message that appears with the hashtag. Hashtag_sentence_121

"My arms are getting darker by the minute. Hashtag_sentence_122

  1. toomuchfaketan". Hashtag_sentence_123

Another function of the hashtag can be used to express personal feelings and emotions. Hashtag_sentence_124

For example, with "It's Monday!! Hashtag_sentence_125

  1. excited #sarcasm" in which the adjectives are directly indicating the emotions of the speaker. Hashtag_sentence_126

It can also be used as a disclaimer of the information that the hashtag accompanies, as in, "BREAKING NEWS: US GDP growth is back! Hashtag_sentence_127

  1. kidding". Hashtag_sentence_128

In this case, the hashtag provides an essential piece of information in which the meaning of the utterance is changed entirely by the disclaimer hashtag. Hashtag_sentence_129

This may also be conveyed with #sarcasm, as in the previous example. Hashtag_sentence_130

Self-mockery is another informal function of the hashtag used by writers, as in this tweet: "Feeling great about myself till I met an old friend who now races at the Master's level. Hashtag_sentence_131

Yup, there's today's #lessoninhumility," where the informality of the hashtag provides commentary on the tweet itself. Hashtag_sentence_132

In popular culture Hashtag_section_10

During the April 2011 Canadian party leader debate, Jack Layton, then-leader of the New Democratic Party, referred to Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper's crime policies as "a hashtag fail" (presumably #fail). Hashtag_sentence_133

The term "hashtag rap", coined by Kanye West, was developed in the 2010s to describe a style of rapping that, according to Rizoh of the Houston Press, uses "three main ingredients: a metaphor, a pause, and a one-word punch line, often placed at the end of a rhyme". Hashtag_sentence_134

Rappers Nicki Minaj, Big Sean, Drake, and Lil Wayne are credited with the popularization of hashtag rap, while the style has been criticized by Ludacris, The Lonely Island, and various music writers. Hashtag_sentence_135

On September 13, 2013, a hashtag, #TwitterIPO, appeared in the headline of a New York Times front-page article regarding Twitter's initial public offering. Hashtag_sentence_136

Bird's Eye foods released in 2014 a shaped mashed potato food that included forms of @-symbols and hashtags, called "Mashtags". Hashtag_sentence_137

Hashtags have been used verbally to make a humorous point in informal conversations, such as "I'm hashtag confused!" Hashtag_sentence_138

In August 2012, British journalist Tom Meltzer wrote in The Guardian that a new hand gesture mimicked the hashtag, sometimes called the "finger hashtag", in which both hands form a peace sign, and then the fingers are crossed to form the symbol of a hashtag. Hashtag_sentence_139

The emerging gesture was reported in Wired by Nimrod Kamer, and during 2013, it was seen on TV as used by Jimmy Fallon, and on The Colbert Report, among other programs. Hashtag_sentence_140

Writing in 2015, Paola Maria Caleff considered this usage a fad, but noted that people talking the way that they write was a consequence of computer-mediated communication. Hashtag_sentence_141

In 2019, the British Ornithological Union included as hash character in the design of its new Janet Kear Union Medal, to represent "science communication and social media". Hashtag_sentence_142

Adaptations Hashtag_section_11


  • Hashflags: In 2010, Twitter introduced "hashflags" during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. They reintroduced the feature on June 10, 2014, in time for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, and then again on April 10, 2015, with UK political party logos for the 2015 UK General Election. When a user tweets a hashtag consisting of the three letter country code of any of the 32 countries represented in the tournament, Twitter automatically embeds a flag emoticon for that country. A similar system was implemented for the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest in Vienna, Austria.Hashtag_item_0_0
  • Cashtags: In 2009, StockTwits used ticker symbols preceded by the dollar sign to create "cashtags". In July 2012, Twitter adapted the hashtag style to make company ticker symbols preceded by the dollar sign clickable (as in $AAPL), a method that Twitter dubbed the "cashtag". This is intended to allow users to search posts discussing companies and their stocks. This is also used for discussion of currency pairings on Twitter, e.g., using #USDGBP or $USDGBP, when mentioning the US Dollar's level expressed in Pounds Sterling.Hashtag_item_0_1

See also Hashtag_section_12


  • URI fragmentHashtag_item_1_2
  • TaggingHashtag_item_1_3
  • Mentioning a user's profile by using @ tagging in blogging.Hashtag_item_1_4
  • Webring, an early-web decentralized mechanism to link websites with a common themeHashtag_item_1_5

Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hashtag.