The humble #hashtag


How times have changed. It’s hard to believe that you could once hold a conversation without the word hashtag ever being mentioned, in fact many people would probably have questioned what the little symbol was for until Twitter came along and it became a global phenomenon overnight.

Most celebrities crave for the stardom the hashtag received and continues to attract. Its use, and dare I suggest overuse, is possibly questionable in some instances but it goes without saying that #FF and #Yorkshirehour, plus of course let us never forget #susanalbumparty, are now a part of our daily lives. Ok, the latter not so much so but it still makes me smile!

I noticed today in the i that they have addressed the humble hashtag and even dedicated a DPS (double page spread) to the story – oh what a transformation, from unused and neglected to household reference in a matter of years.

What I hadn’t realised is that the use of the hashtag for grouping information or searching themes and trends should be attributed (if the piece in the paper is to be believed – and we all know when it’s in the paper it has to be true!) to a man named Chris Messina.

Well done Chris – you turned an innocent symbol into a global superstar. But is it really useful? Well, you can debate that people will hashtag any old thing in order to try and engage and converse with others but the truth of the matter is that if leading broadcasters are using hashtags before programmes then they must see some benefit in them.

I do enjoy watching a programme while also following my twitter feed. The Olympics wouldn’t have been the same without it and as for documentaries I simply can’t help but giggle along with some of the comments made – I even go so far as to retweet a few if I think they’re worth it.

So the humble hashtag, are you a hashtagger or do you prefer to stick to straight forward conversation without attempting to be ‘down with the kids?’ There is no doubt that things are changing all of the time and a whole new world of conversation is upon us – the question is #areyouin or #areyouout?