As we celebrate Hashtags at 10, here are some of the most popular ones on the internet

by Wareez Odunayo

 

Before Twitter came along, the # key was nothing more than the hash sign or the pound sign. # key is being used 125 million times on Twitter every day without counting # tags on Facebook, Instagram and other social media platform.

Erstwhile Google and Uber engineer, Chris Messina was the first to use the symbol (#) as a means of tagging or categorising a tweet. On August 23, 2007, he suggested that the symbol could be used to create group messages.

Messina’s suggestion to use the hashtag was not adopted by Twitter, but the practice took off after hashtags were widely used in tweets. Therefore, the hashtag was originally created by Twitter users as a way to categorize messages.

10 years on, # tag key has become one of the most widely used characters on social media platform. It was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in June 2014 because of its widespread use. Users create and use # tags by placing the number sign in front of a word either in the main text of a message or at the end. Searching for that hashtag will yield each message that has been tagged with it.

Hashtags are mostly used in unmoderated discussion forums. Any combination of characters led by a # symbol is a hashtag, and any hashtag, if promoted by enough individuals, can trend and attract more individual users to discussion. # tags function as signal in order for users to find and follow or list other users of similar interest.

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.

Here are some of the biggest hashtags ever in terms of big events, controversies and creating Twitter moments in the process.

#BlackLivesMatter
BLM is an international movement that was first mobilised on Twitter, bringing people together to work towards better society for black people.

#EdBallsDay
Since 28 April 2011, the world has celebrated former Labour MP Ed Balls’ Twitter fail, when he simply tweeted his own name. People still find it funny, which is probably why it has its own anniversary every year.

#HeForShe
HeForShe is a United Nations Women’s campaign for gender equality, which started in 2014 and is backed by the likes of Emma Watson and Simon Pegg.
People used the hashtag as a platform to express their own battles with gender inequality in everyday life and campaign for change.

#PutYourBatsOut
The death of Twenty-five-year-old Australian cricketer Phillip Hughes in 2014, triggered tribute messages on Twitter using the hashtag #PutYourBatsOut among his fans.

#CupforBen
The tweet with the hashtag #CupForBen was retweeted more than 12,000 times.
In 2016, a dad from north Devon made an urgent plea on Twitter to find a replacement sippy cup for his autistic son Ben.

#IceBucketChallenge
This involved people pouring cold water over themselves and posting the video on social media.
The Ice Bucket Challenge went viral in 2014.

#FollowFriday
The first #FollowFriday was on 16 January 2009 and there have been more than half a billion #FF or #followfriday uses since then.
This allows you promote people’s handles who you think your followers might want to follow. This hashtag was the first to really take off on Twitter.

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