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Hashtag (#) – Brief Explanation

Hashtag (#) – Brief Explanation

What is a Hashtag (#)?

In the jargon of the internet and specifically social networks, a clickable phrase or word is called a hashtag or tag, that is, a metadata tag that allows a user to access a specific set of entries (such as writings or images in a social network) that have been marked with that particular descriptor. Typically, this is a string of words and characters preceded by a pound or pound sign (#).

What is a Hashtag_

For example, a user of social networks (especially on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and Telegram) can click on the hashtag #RecetasVeganas to go to the entries identified with this content, thus filtering the immensity of online content available to go directly to what you are looking for.

It is also common for social media users to invent their labels to express certain personal positions and emotional states or to ironize the use of social media itself—for example, #IHateMondays or #Anything.

For its part, the word hashtag is a neologism from the English language (that is, an Anglicism) composed of two different words: hash, translatable as “numeral” (#), and tag as “label.” Each tag or hashtag represents a specific topic and a quick and easy digital descriptor for any microblogging database.

Origin of Hashtags

The pound sign (#) was already part of the descriptive protocols of online communications services in the late 1990s and early 2000s, such as Internet Relay Chat (IRC) or Jaiku.

It was used as an information descriptor, similar to the keywords of library systems, but not with the exact meaning it obtained from 2007 when it began to be used on the social network Twitter.

The first use of a label on social Twitter was by Chris Messina, a Google worker, who proposed it to organize entries (tweets or tweets) that belonged to the same group:

The tweet translates as “How about using # (numeral) for groups, like in #barcamp [msg]?” That same year, hashtags became popular when another user on the same social network created #sandiegofire to tag his posts about the wildfires in California in October.

Since then, hashtags have been used to group entries referring to the same topic, news event, or the same debate among users of social networks. And they soon spread to similar platforms such as Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook.

Characteristics of a Hashtag (#)

In general, a hashtag should be:

  • A simple and brief phrase with a few words directly alludes to the topic referred to. It must be headed by the pound sign (#) and without spaces between the words that compose it: #ThisisunHashtag.
  • It is expected to differentiate between upper and lower case (CamelCase) to distinguish a crucial word from the rest and facilitate readability. This is usually done with the initial capital letters of each word, but there are no definitive rules about this.
  • It must be clickable (a hyperlink) so the user can navigate between the platform entries identified with the same label. The duplicate entry can have several labels simultaneously.
  • The hashtags with the most excellent diffusion and significant visits enter a popularity ranking and are called Trending Topics (“Popular Topics”).

Examples of Popular Hashtag (#)

Some of the most popular hashtags over time have been:

#TBT or #ThrowBackThursday.

Tag popularized on Twitter to share with the public a childhood photograph or from past times on Thursday of each week.


Label that contains the English abbreviation of You Only Live Once, that is, “You only live once.” It accompanies confessions, announces risky decisions, or ironizes shy and distrustful attitudes.


Tag popularized on Twitter to encourage users to acquire new followers on Friday of each week.

#BLM or #BlackLivesMatter.

Label that emerged as a result of the protests and riots that occurred in the United States as a result of police excesses against Afro-descendant citizens and became a slogan of anti-racism in the West.


Label of the social network Instagram, which accompanies the photographs or images shared by a user to express their current state of mind.


The label “without filters” is typical of Instagram, specifically photographs shared without applying beautification filters. This is a way to warn other users that this photo is shared without retouching.


Labels are designed to accompany “selfies” or self-portrait photographs that users of any social network take at any given time.


Labels are designed to report to other users that an entry or a link to a news item is false, is manipulative information, or is a conspiracy theory.

#Photo of the Day.

Some Hispanic users use Instagram labels to organize specific photographs that constitute their “daily contribution” to the social network as if they were keeping a photographic diary.


The label is used for photographs of food or particularly succulent dishes, often accompanied by beautifying filters. It means “food porn.”


In conclusion, we explain a hashtag or label, its function, and its characteristics. Also, what was its origin, and what are some examples of popular hashtags?

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