There’s no doubt Twitter has changed the world we live in.

From its launch in July 2006 to its current state 13 years later, the microblogging website has become the ultimate news source, outreach platform, meme supplier, political soapbox, and so, so much more to so many people.

One of the many results of Twitter and its growing popularity was the rise of the hashtag.

Twitter infamously helped create the hashtag in 2007, first used by Chris Messina, which changed not just Twitter, but all of social media – and much of the world around it – in a big way.

What Are Hashtags?

A hashtag is a keyword index tool written with a #, or the pound symbol, at the beginning of a series of space-less keyword sets to refer to a specific topic, idea, or trend.

Hashtags are metadata tags consisting of letters and numbers – excluding spaces and punctuation – that categorize keywords and ideas (typically on social media platforms, like Twitter) by turning them into clickable phrases that are indexed with other, related tweets.

After debuting on Twitter thanks to Messina, hashtags flourished, first on Twitter, then on other social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and even business-oriented LinkedIn.

Hashtags have become a staple on most social media platforms and are embedded in the everyday fabric of social media.

And, thankfully, they’ve made categorization in a world of data overload easier than ever before.

How to Use Hashtags

Hashtags help categorize content among a plethora of information, thus making it easier than ever before to find and sort specific bits of information as they are published across Twitter. […]

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