The Origins of the Hashtag


Well, sort of. Really, it’s the origins of the pound symbol, which has been in use since the Middle Ages (think: Latin for “pound weight,” libra pondo, abbreviated “lb” and then quickly copied over and over and over again by scribes until it becomes the muddled # we’re all used to). The origin of its use on Twitter, however, goes back to its widespread use in “Internet Relay Chat” (IRC), a once widely used medium of instant communication used by programmers and tech professionals (among others). Its use there prompted Chris Messina, an open-source software advocate, to propose its use on Twitter in 2007.