‘Never thought hashtag would be used so much’: Chris Messina

The symbol was meant to be a place to start a conversation online

By Author  |  Published: 21st Jan 2020  7:16 pm

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.

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

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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 hastag 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.

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. Messina first used the hashtag in a tweet in 2007. He had pinned that post on his Twitter timeline.

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.

Over 12 years after it was first used, hashtag has emerged as the one of the most potent forces on social media. Messina is of the opinion that internet platforms should reveal where they would use the information that they collect from users.