Never thought hashtag will be used so much: Chris Messina

Hashtag inventor Chris Messina has said he had not imagined the symbol would be so widely used on social media, when he started it over 12 years ago as a medium for people to connect on online networks.
Hashtag inventor Chris Messina
Hashtag inventor Chris Messina

Ahmedabad

Messina says the idea behind hashtag was to have a place online where anybody could start a conversation and others could join in.

He, however, says he has concerns over the use of social media to influence opinions and that amid so much use of social media to communicate, people should not lose the ability to interact in real life.

He also said the next big thing on internet will be “voice-based usage” instead of typing or using touch screens. “Whether I imagined or contemplated this, (while using hashtag for first time), not necessarily, but I did think that social media will be very important and people should be allowed to participate in conversation on social media without having to go to central authority for permission,” says Messina, who was here to attend an event.

In those times (in 2007 when internet users were very few) for creating a website, people had to go to central authority (of internet) like registrar, pay money and build a website and get working on it, the US-based inventor said. “The idea behind hashtag was to have a place on the internet where anybody can start a conversation, like on a street, and others can join in,” he says. Messina first used the hashtag in a tweet in 2007.

“How do you feel about using # (pound) for groups. As in #barcamp [msg]?,” reads the 24 August, 2007 tweet where he used the symbol for the first time. He has pinned that post on his Twitter timeline.

After that tweet, he walked into the office of Twitter and presented his idea, but it was rejected. His repeated use of the symbol, convincing his friends and followers on Twitter to use it led the Twitter management to incorporate it in their system. Later, other platforms like Instagram adopted it.

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