Do You Know What This “#” Means?

13 Jun

Perhaps my lack of using Twitter multiple times per day has left me out of this secret “handshake” now roaring through cyberspace. The “#”, also known as the hashmark has not only become commonly used in Twitter, but it also has escaped into office communiques, personal emails and texts, in fact, EVERYWHERE, according to an article Sunday June 12th, entitled “Twitter’s Secret Handshake”.

According to the article, the use of the # stems from Chris Messina (the self-described “hash godfather”), who officially invented the Twitter hashtag in August 2007. The wonderful meaning of this shortcut is that the # can be used to organize groups on Twitter. For instance if you went to the TED conference, and wanted to tweet about the conference so that others would find the tweets easily, the might tweet with #TED preceding the tweet information.

But the # has proven so useful, and has become so commonplace, that it is now used in many types of electronic correspondence. The # can be used humorously as well, to indicate that the writer is speaking tongue-in-cheek. Putting the # in front of a phrase means that what follows is satire.

All this means that words are saved, and groups are organized without much fuss or explanation- an agreed upon savings of time to communicate. Best of all, the # means one is in the know technologically. For those who read the article in the Times, and still are not sure of the gist of things, another explanation is available on the site tech for luddites under the catchy title, “The Twitter Hash Tag: What Is It and How Do You use It?”, which should make it safe for almost everyone to take a look!


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