[SMK] Social Media Knowledge


A brief history of the hashtag

Strawberries and cream, a horse and carriage, social and hashtags. Some things are just meant to go together.

These days including a hashtag in a post is second nature. In fact, it’s hard to imagine a world without hashtags.

Thanks to a recent infographic from Offerpop we take at the short and fascinating history of the humble hashtag.

Fiery start

Before anyone had thought up the term hashtag, the symbol # was known as either the number or pound sign.

In August 2007 the hashtag first appeared on Twitter, although it wasn’t until October that year when the hashtag #sandiegofire, referring to the wild fires in California at the time, took off.

In 2009 Twitter officially started linking terms preceded by the hashtag symbol together. 


In January 2011 Instagram joins the hashtag party, while in the same month Audi used the Super Bowl to premiere the first television advertisement featuring a hashtag.

Later that year the hashtag's political power becomes apparent. During the Arab Spring the hashtag #Bahrain becomes ones of the most popular hashtags of all time, as activists used it to broadcast after other communication channels were shut down.

In October 2011 Google+ automatically links hashtags in posts.

Taking off

By 2012 the hashtag was a phenomenon. Twitter aired its first TVC which showcased the uses of hashtags, while in 2013 half of all Super Bowl ads featured hashtags.

In January 2013 Vine launched hashtag support, followed in subsequent months by Flicker and eventually Facebook.


In September 2013 TV host Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake broadcast a skit where they spoke exclusively in hashtags.

In November 2013 Twitter launched its IPO and is valued at US$24 billion, proving hashtags are very profitable.

To find out more visit offerpop.com

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