A hashtag is the # symbol on the keyboard when it is placed before a keyword or phrase (without spaces) to identify the topics of a message or posting. Hashtag also refers to the # symbol together with the word or phrase after it. Hashtags are used on social media sites such as Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr. Using the correct hashtag on a post makes it easier for people who are interested in your topic to find you. Chris Messina is credited as the first person to use a hashtag on social media, in 2007 he asked fellow Twitter-users if it would be acceptable to use the hashtag to refer to discussion groups. Ev Williams, co-creator of Twitter, told Messina that he didn’t think hashtags would catch on. Hashtag has been accepted into the Oxford English Dictionary.

The # symbol is also called the pound sign, as it is used as an abbreviation symbol for pound or LB. This symbol is also is called the number sign, as it has been frequently used as an abbreviation symbol for number. # was named an octothorpe at Bell Labs in the 1960s, the word octothorpe appears in a U.S. patent filed by Bell Labs in 1973. One of the men at Bell Labs who named this symbol the octothorpe was Don Macpherson, he states that the word comes from the eight points on the symbol–“octo”–and the name  Thorpe. Macpherson was at that time part of an association which was attempting to have the athlete Jim Thorpe’s 1912 Olympic medals returned to him.



The original hashtag sent out was to be #STUD, but Gardaí quickly realised this wouldn’t suit. (The Irish Independent)

And did you know that, for the first time in X Factor history, viewers will be able to vote via hashtag on Twitter to determine which of the Judges is allocated each of the four categories – the Girls, Boys, Groups and Overs? (The Bath Chronicle)

Using the hashtag #ilooklikeasurgeon, surgeons around the world have posted selfies of themselves to highlight that there is no such thing as a stereotypical “male” surgeon and women were just as capable. (The Independent)

Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar woos US investors with ‘Happening Haryana’ hashtag (The Economic Times)


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  1. Actually, hashtag doesn’t refer to #, but to the # when combined with a word. The # itself is referred to as a hash (in addition to a pound sign, octothorpe, or number sign). The hash is what separates hashtags from conventional tags (such as those used in blogs, YouTube, Flickr, etc).

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