A Hashtag History Lesson

A Hashtag History Lesson

Hashtags are a vital part of Instagram. Without hashtags it would be so much more difficult for anyone to find what they are looking for. Hashtags help us find and engage with images by and about our favorite people, places and things. They also help others to discover our posts and our account. What would we do without hashtags?

If you've ever wondered how hashtags came to be, here's a primer about hashtags. 

Hashtags were used in the computer programming world long before they became standard on social media. Programmers used hashtags as a way to keep their notes from getting lost in a sea of code. They would simply insert the # symbol in the middle of their blocks of code, with their comments right after. When they wanted to retrieve these messages later, or look at the notes of another coder, it was easy to find these notes by searching for the # symbol. 

Hashtags took off on Twitter not long after the platform started to gain popularity. As more and more people were posting into a general feed, messages started to gt lost. A programmer named Chris Messina is credited with being the first to suggest that people on the platform adopt the # method for keeping conversations organized. 

People quickly realized that by using the # symbol, followed immediately by a topic name, was a great way to filter the messages, and create feeds for what they wanted to see. 

Today hashtags are used in a similar way on Instagram. Much like hashtags kept messages from getting lost in a sea of code, hashtags now keep your notes from getting lost in a sea of images. 

On Instagram, hashtags are typically used to add information about the content of a post. Tagging quickly captures and catalogs the who, what, when, where, why and how.

Hashtags have stuck around because, when used correctly, they are a convenient way to curate content. Hashtags can be added to instagram posts as part of the caption or the comments.

With over 90 million posts a day on Instagram, it’s no surprise that finding the content you want to see, gets harder every day. Hashtags make it easier to pick up and follow the threads you are interested in.

An estimated 70% of all of the images posted on Instagram go unseen. That's a shocking amount of undiscovered, unappreciated content!  Instagram posts don’t disappear after 24 hours, but they do get buried,  and in most cases, lost from view forever.

That doesn’t have to be the case with your account. Using hashtags can help save your posts from disappearing into the void! 

No matter what your image is about, when hashtags are applied appropriately, those hashtags make it possible for others to discover and share your post now, and for as long as your post remains  in your account.

Hashtags allow people to quickly and easily:

  • Describe the content in the image
  • Curate a collection of like images
  • Share relevant content within a community
  • Identify, or Identify with a brand, cause or group
  • Locate the post or the poster on a map
  • Recall the post at a later date