why is the pound sign called a hashtag

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) Thursday morning, Twitter became a publicly traded company. Stocks soared and put the value of the social-media company at more than $30 billion. So with Twitter in the news, we wondered about one of its most well-known symbols the hashtag. A viewer named Valerie asked: How did the pound sign become a hashtag? Hashtags are used on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. The # symbol goes in front of a word or words to group that tweet or post with other tweets or posts about the same topic. БItБs so people can find certain topics or events or things that are popular,Б said teacher Stephanie Baldvin from Northfield. Common examples might be #Vikings, #NovemberSnow or #WorstPickupLinesEver
It all started back on Aug. 23, 2007 with a tweet by San Francisco techie and former Google developer Chris Messina. He wrote on Twitter, БHow do you feel about using # (pound) for groups. As in #barcamp [msg]? Б how do you feel about using # (pound) for groups. As in [msg]? Б Chris MessinaБ (@chrismessina) БIt was one of those things where I had so many haters in the beginning that I thought this thing would never pick up,Б he said in a recent interview with WCCO-TV. БBut, secretly, I sort of felt like, Come on, guys, this is the simplest thing that could work. At first, Messina said he was dismissed by most in the tech community, including Twitter. БPeople were like, thatБs weird, thatБs kind of dumb. You do whatever your things is, and weБll keep complaining about the problem,Б he said. He came up with the hashtag to find an easy way to bring together people discussing the same topic online. He chose the # symbol because it was an easy keyboard character to reach on his 2007 Nokia feature phone and other techies were already using it in other internet chat systems. БI didnБt need to invent something new,Б he said. БThis is good enough. IБm going to go with this. Б Two days later, another techie, Stowe Boyd, suggested the # symbol be called БIt just sounds catchier,Б said Messina.


Messina started using the # symbol and convinced some of his friends to do the same. During the 2007 San Diego fire, people started to use the tracking system Twitter had in place, but the spaces between the words San, Diego and fire made it difficult to track. Messina suggested the hashtag with no spaces. БThat caused other people to see that behavior and they emulated that behavior and it kind of continued in that form,Б he said. БAt that point, it became easier to use. Б In 2008, conservative groups began to the # symbol to encourage Congress to vote on an energy bill. We had culturally jumped from the tech crowd into the political space and that was huge, he said. By 2009, Twitter adopted the idea and hyperlinked to the hashtags. Messina said thatБs when its usage skyrocketed. The # sign has become something of a cultural phenomenon. The origin of the first # (pound) sign isnБt entirely clear, but linguists think it came about because it was easier to write than L-B. The # sign became even more popular in the 1960s when Bell Labs used it on its telephones. Now, the word is used as a verb Б hashtagging Б and even Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake created a parody about the symbolБs overuse. For example, three or more hashtags in a tweet or post might be considered excessive. БI hate those users,Б said Ellen Stenson of California. Messina says heБs often asked about the overuse of the symbol. БI think there are some interesting opportunities to do a better job to help people meet, find each other, share content and get it out there in the world that arenБt just based on blowing up hashtags in your posts,Б he said. БWe havenБt actually found those yet and, until we do, people are going to continue to use them in that way because they are desperate to connect.


Б In many scripting languages and data file formats, especially ones that originated on, the # introduces a that goes to the end of the line. The combination #! at the start of an executable file is a " ", "hash-bang" or "pound-bang", used to tell the which program to use to run the script (see ). This combination was chosen so it would be a comment in the scripting languages. #! is the symbol of the distribution. In the programming language, # is used as a modifier to array syntax to return the index number of the last element in the array, e. g. , @array's last element is at $array[$#array]. The number of elements in @array is $#array + 1, since Perl arrays default to using zero based indices. If the array has not been defined, the return is also undefined. If the array is defined but has not had any elements assigned to it, e. g. , @array = (); then $#array returns 1. See the section on in the Perl language structure article. In the (and the preprocessor, and other syntactically C-like languages), # is used to start a. Inside macros (after ) it is used for various purposes, including the double pound sign ## used for token concatenation. In, # is placed by convention at the end of a to denote that the user is working as. # is used in a of a or other resource to introduce a " " an id which defines a position within that resource. For example, in the URL ) is the fragment identifier, in this case denoting that the display should be moved to show the tag marked by span id="In_computing". /span in the HTML. : on (IRC) servers, # precedes the name of every that is available across an entire IRC network. In, # is sometimes used to denote a for that particular weblog entry. In, such as, # is often used to introduce numbered list items. # is used in the Modula-2 and Oberon programming languages designed by Niklaus Wirth and in the Component Pascal language derived from Oberon to denote the not equal symbol, as a stand-in for the mathematical unequal sign, being more intuitive than orP! =.


For example: IF i # 0 THEN. In, # is the operator used to call a method. In, # is a dispatching character used to extend the syntax with short cuts and support for various data types (complex numbers, vectors and more). In, # is the prefix for certain syntax with special meaning. In, #, when prefixed to a field name, becomes a projection function (function to access the field of a record or tuple); also, # prefixes a to turn it into a character literal. In syntax, #, when used as a variable, becomes a pure function (a placeholder that is mapped to any variable meeting the conditions). In, #, when prefixing a number, references an arguments for a user defined command. For instance. In, # is used with the @see tag to introduce or separate a field, constructor, or method member from its containing class. In some dialects of, # is used to denote immediate mode addressing, e. g. , which means "load the accumulator with the value 10" in assembly language. in, and other computing applications "#" is used to identify a color specified in format, e. g. ,. This usage comes from color specifications, which inherited it from early assembler dialects that used "#" to prefix hexadecimal constants, e. g. : ZX Spectrum. In, every command line starts with #. Lines starting with characters other than # are treated as comments. The use of the # symbol in a is a phenomenon conceived by, and popularized by social media network, as a way to direct conversations and topics amongst users. This has led to an increasingly common tendency to refer to the symbol itself as "hashtag", but this is technically incorrect. In programming languages like PL/1 and Assembler used on IBM mainframe systems, as well as JCL (Job Control Language), the # symbol (along with $ and @) are used as additional letters in identifiers, labels and data set names.

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