Thursday, December 7

From #HappyMonday to #MeToo: the ‘hashtag’ celebrates 15 years organizing the networks

Fifteen years is the time that has passed since the now popular “hashtags” began to be used in social networks, which have contributed to ordering and channeling much of the information and messages that circulate on the network, but also to determine and know the topics that attract more attention and what ends up being a “trend”.

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The symbol “#” (hash) followed by a word or label (tag) has even contributed in recent years to generating authentic social movements, such as #MeToo, #BlackLivesMatter or #YoSiTeCreo, or to tarnish the reputation of some people , like Vladimir Putin, who has become one of the most labeled and repudiated characters on the networks since Russia invaded Ukraine.

Marked on agendas as “Internet Day”, August 23 commemorates the publication, in 1991, of the first publicly accessible web page – developed by the British Tim Berners-Lee at the European Laboratory for Particle Physics (CERN). )—, a date that this year coincides with the fifteenth anniversary of the “labels”.

Like almost everything that has to do with the internet, there is no date that clearly marks the beginning of anything; and although many users were already using the hash in one of the first chats that allowed Internet users from all over the world to speak in real time (the “IRC”), the American Christopher Messina proposed on August 23, 2007 to use the “hashtag” on the Twitter network to group topics; revolutionized the industry.

Main promoter almost twenty years ago of the first “barcamp” —open and participatory events that are held simultaneously in various parts of the world; never in person— Messina wrote on Twitter that day: “What do you think about the use of # for groups. Like in #barcamp? and today the labels add up to hundreds of millions of quotes on social networks and end up being converted —or not— into fashion topics, trends or “trending topics” (#TT) every day.

Today at the moment the “trend” on the blue bird network is the HBO series “La Casa del Dragón”, Ansu Fati and the Barça match or the Coldplay group, in Spain; and in the United States #Houseofthedragon tops that ranking too.

#HappyMonday, #Love or #FYP

They x-ray the interest of millions of users for different issues and have already spread and become popular on all social networks; On Twitter, those associated with the day of the week (#HappyMonday or #HappyFriday) triumph among the main trends. On Instagram, #love wins by a landslide every year, the most recurrent label to place with family, friends, couples or pets, and on TikTok imposes #FYP – acronym for “For You Page” (For you).

An x-ray of the issues that spark the most interest every day and that contribute to the more than 4,600 million users of these platforms in the world, according to the latest data published in the Digital Report 2022, prepared by the Hootsuite platform —specialized in social media management—and the We Are Social agency.

Stefano D’Orazio, director of Hootsuite for Southern Europe, has underlined that tags are “an excellent tool to gain followers, build a brand or grow a business”, and indicates that networks are full of communities and subcultures “that they are often built around shared interests, aesthetics, or lifestyles.”

The expert has stressed that “hashtags” help users find content tailored to their needs, but including them in their publications also implies participating in a conversation and contributes to giving greater visibility to those publications, which in his opinion can lead to greater engagement and reinforce a brand or profile.

The importance of making effective use

The number of network users has grown over the last year, according to the aforementioned report, by more than 400 million, and now represents 58% of the world’s population, who are inclined, in this order, to Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp and Instagram.

Internet users – who tomorrow commemorate their “day”, are even more almost 5,000 million people representing 62.5% of the world population – and the portrait that the 2022 Digital Report makes of them indicates that they are less and less reluctant to pay a monthly fee for digital content or make purchases online.

The same source also points out the effectiveness of labels and advertising on social networks, since a quarter of these users discover brands, products and services precisely through these platforms, many of which already include their own “stores”. ” in which millions of users make their purchases.