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My first use of the term ‘hash tag’ on Twitter, 25 August 2007

In that tweet I used ‘hash tag’ but in the post referenced I didn’t. Still, I am betting this is the first use of the term ‘hash tag’.

I’ve informed Ben Zimmer of the American Dialect Society whose research suggested that a post of mine (Hash Tags = Twitter Groupings) from 26 Aug 2007 was the first use.

Note that Chris Messina was the guy proposing the use of the hash (‘#’) to precede a term to tag things — in fact these tweets and posts were part of an intense dicussion that he and I and others were involved in that week in August. Chris was exploring a way to create something like Google+ Circles, which he was calling ‘channels’, using the ‘#word’ approach derived from IRC chat. His goal was to use channels as a way to direct where tweets are sent — a group DM, or mailing list, if you will — which didn’t happen.

My thinking at the time was around what I call ‘groupings’: free form communities of people who share the characteristic of using a shared tag, like all the folks who have tagged something ‘social business’ is a fast and loose definition of the ‘social business’ community. My thinking was that the tag should indicate topical metadata about the tweet, and implicit metadata — grouping membership — about the tweet’s author. Which is pretty much how they are used today.

At any rate, interesting support for Ben’s research on ‘#hashtag’. 

Thanks,@DonMacAskill, for the sleuthing.

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  1. tomszekeres reblogged this from stoweboyd and added:
    The first use of the phrase “hash tag”? Stowe Boyd…
  2. stoweboyd posted this

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