History of the #Hashtag

History of the #Hashtag

Hashtags AKA #, is a form of metadata tag frequently used in microblogging and social networks.  The origin of hashtags is associated with their use in IRC (Internet Relay Chat) networks in which their purpose was to label groups and topics. The mainstream knowledge and use of the hashtag grew synonymously with that of Twitter, as it was an integral part of the social network. Today, hashtags have become synonymous in modern Internet culture, with content aggregation capabilities, regardless of platform.

Most recently, hashtag functionality has been launched on both LinkedIn and Facebook, following suit of precedence set by Twitter, Vine, Tumblr, Flickr, Google+ and Instagram. Today hashtags can be seen on a variety of marketing collateral from print ads to OOH billboards to Television commercials. They are frequently integrated in television programs, which cites feedback from users or encourages a second screen experience. From the exposure perspective, the more hashtags  included in a social post, the better but the audiences usually find an overuse of hashtags to be overwhelming or a desperate attempt to generate more traction.  Research states that no more then 3 hashtags is the best frequency to incorporate.

The future of hashtags is bright as the ability to index and source content online is filled with purpose from both the user and producer perspective. Marketers will continue to benefit from creating branded hashtags and sourcing consumer created hashtags as the user generated content can be repurposed in several ways, primarily:

  • Collect and repurpose branded testimonials
  • Identify authentic brand ambassadors and influencers
  • Conduct risk mitigation
  • Augment analytic tracking

 

Do you frequently use hashtags and how do you feel about their place in online content and marketing communications?

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