Originally an idea to organize “groups” on a nascent social media platform, the hashtag as we know it -- a “#” character used to tag, search, aggregate, and promote social media posts -- is credited as the brainchild of Internet Relay Chat (IRC) fan and Google-employee at the time Chris Messina. The idea to organize groups on Twitter slowly morphed into a folksonomic classification tool, and eventually a means to search, sift through, and rank the overwhelming number of social media posts as they are being generated in real-time, changing ideas about the agency and temporality of categorization. Trending Topics use # to encourage Tweeters to read posts about the posts that are being posted the most about.
Chang, H. C., and H. Iyer. 2012. "Trends in Twitter Hashtag Applications: Design Features for Value-Added Dimensions to Future Library Catalogues." 248.
Messina, Chris. 2007. "Groups for Twitter; or A Proposal for Twitter Tag Channels." Factory Joe (blog). November 11. https://factoryjoe.com/2007/08/25/groups-for-twitter-or-a-proposal-for-twitter-tag-channels/.
Photograph 1: Tweet from Chris Messina