Will You Miss the Hashtag When It’s Gone?

By Evan LePage | 2 years ago | No Comments

Check out the full infographic, by Offerpop, below.
Check out the full infographic, by Offerpop, below.

Last week, Twitter’s Head of News, Vivian Schiller, called hashtags “arcane” and hinted that they might be on the way out. The comments, though not a sure sign that the hashtag will fall out of use anytime soon, still shocked many Twitter users. The social network is largely responsible for turning the hashtag into a household term, and many see the success of hashtags at connecting users based on common themes or discussion topics as one of Twitter’s biggest strengths.

Lately hashtags have been called into question on several fronts. They’ve been ridiculed by Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake, and they’ve earned Facebook — the newest player in the hashtag game — a significant level of hate.

And yet, hashtags are still widely used and appreciated, especially by active social media users. Mashable’s coverage of Shiller’s comments included a poll asking if Twitter should get rid of @ replies and hashtags. The results are pretty clear:

Poll via Mashable
Poll via Mashable


We asked our users if they regularly used hashtags and most responded yes, for Twitter and Instagram especially.

Whether or not the hashtag is being phased out by the networks themselves, social media users clearly still appreciate their value. Rather than disappear, the hashtag will likely evolve alongside social media, as it has for the last five years. Check out this hashtag infographic from Offerpop, which illustrates big moments in the history of the hashtag as well as a few statistics about its users and uses.

Infographic by Offerpop. Click for full size.
Infographic by Offerpop. Click image for full size.

Written by

Edward ChamberlainBell
Edward ChamberlainBell 5pts

Hashtags make headline news in traditional media and on social media. Used judiciously they are invaluable tools, but used indiscriminately they go beyond annoying towards becoming detrimental for any brand. My one piece of advice to anyone #hashtagging is not to #hashtag every #word in a #post!

gaanduchupkar 5pts

 Hashtags to gain followers should be untouched. Everyone wants to gain the followers.

21CenturyTiger 5pts

From a charity perspectve #nomakeupselfie raising over £8 million for cancer research across Twitter & Instagram is proof the hashtag is not dead! (@21CenturyTiger)

us916us916 5pts

When Twitter is the first who used Hashtags on the social media! It should be a registered trademark by Twitter! LOL!

JLBHireCalling 5pts

@us916us916 You can't register a trademark for something that's already in common use.

A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination thereof, that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others.

CBarrows 5pts

I've found hashtags on Facebook annoying and illogical. A network which clamors for privacy was never destined to be successful. That said, I love hashtags on Twitter - and use them daily for Twitterchats, amongst other things. 

Adrian 5pts

What would we use instead of hashtags? For example, a tv program that wants its viewers to discuss it has a hashtag. I've no issue with abandoning hashtags if there is something better but I don't know what that might be.

Bill Owen
Bill Owen 5pts

Good chart, except my understanding is that hashtags were "proposed" for use only after users began to use them. I would love to know who it was that first used them. Since they are stored, that should be possible. I like hashtags, they impose some order on the chaos.

Brett_NineOne 5pts

@Bill Owen Hashtags actually come from coding language. Twitter simply reimagined the hashtag and introduced it to a larger audience. By no means was 2007 the invention of the hashtag, but rather its reappropriation. 

eric_dwhite 5pts

Hashtags for certain purposes should be destroyed... such as for trying to gain followers. Hashtags used to spread a meme or current event should stay untouched!

aryall 5pts

This is great advice and as a social media manager and strategist myself, I like the infographic with the history of the hashtag and am tuned-in to the hashtag jokes thanks to JT and Jimmy Fallon :) I have to wonder if some of the responses you got from your Twitter poll are biased because the people responding are social media mavens themselves and so of course they are familiar with and use hashtags. Is that demonstrative of the overall company? Maybe, maybe not. 

In addition, they say they "use" hashtags, but do they "search" hashtags? As social media managers, community managers, and content managers, we are more likely to search hashtags for many reasons, one of them being to figure out which hashtags will yield our tweet the largest reach when it comes to posting content, but I have to wonder how often hashtags are actually searched, and for what reasons. 

Thanks for your post! Very insightful and not something social media mavens might have thought about before. Looking forward to more.

Quake_warning 5pts

That would be a big yes, but almost exclusively on Twitter