The hashtag is 10! Yes, the symbol that started out as the lowly "number sign" or "pound" on the telephone keypad and later morphed into something entirely different is 10 years old today. And it has accomplished quite a lot. In fact, it's hard to imagine modern communication without it.
And you might think it was all by design. That the folks running Twitter needed a catchy little tool to help their new platform catch fire, and the hashtag is what they came up with.
But that's not the way it happened.
Twitter didn't even create the hashtag. The guy who did create it, Chris Messina, a former Google engineer, is adamant that he did not create it for Twitter. And Twitter wasn't sure it even needed a hashtag.
Here's how it happened: Ten years ago, Messina and his programmer friends were growing increasingly frustrated with the way communication worked on the Internet. As promising as Twitter seemed to be, it was a jumble. It lacked a way of organizing the many tweets that were coming in. Their solution: Start using tags.