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‘Mot-Dièse’
Posted: 28 May 2013 02:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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A hashtag is a tag on a tweet used for categorizing it.  It is marked as such by the use of a hash mark.  #jargonexplanation

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Posted: 28 May 2013 04:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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I think the coolest thing about “hashtag” is that it was completely invented by the users of Twitter. When it debuted, Twitter had no means of tagging or categorizing tweets. One could search for character strings, but other than sorting by user, there was no way search all the tweets on a particular subject. The users just started adding tags, using the hash mark, to give their tweets subjects. The engineers and UI designers at Twitter had nothing to do with it. #crowdsourcedinnovation

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Posted: 29 May 2013 05:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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Here’s what Twitter support has to say about it:

Definition: The # symbol, called a hashtag, is used to mark keywords or topics in a Tweet. It was created organically by Twitter users as a way to categorize messages.

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Posted: 29 May 2013 09:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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Hashtags are also used to make little tongue-in-cheek comments about the thing the user just tweeted, often mocking the tweeter and/or that tweet.

It seems reasonable to suppose (but I don’t believe I’ve ever heard anybody expressly assert this) that the use of hashtag to signal that a self-mocking (or otherwise ironic or “meta") comment is about to be made grew out of the categorization usage.  I could easily imagine a user picking a label for a tag that would actually be useful for sorting the tweet, but that also happens to be amusing, ironic, self-mocking, or to otherwise provide a comment on the tweet.  As in, if I tweeted about a silly WAG I came up with about a word’s origin, I could “tag” it with #justawag.  This could actually be used to sort my tweets, but it would also serve as a wry acknowledgment of the uninformed nature of my speculative musing. 

At some point (perhaps almost immediately, perhaps not) hashtags began being used in purely ironic/meta/jokey/self-mocking senses.

Things reached a truly meta state when Wil Wheaton of Star Trek: The Next Generation fame, attempted to post a link to some pictures, accidentally used the wrong link, and tweeted, “I love that I’m trying to be all clever, and then I epic fail at basic linking. #lessonsinhumility #facepalm #hashtag.”

#can’tthinkofacleverjoketoendthiswith#whystartnow#sigh.

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Posted: 29 May 2013 09:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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Something similar happens here and elsewhere with http codes in comments. Like [rant]I can’t stand prescriptivists who claim to know so many rules while knowing so little about actually communication[/rant].

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Posted: 29 May 2013 02:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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People use hashtags, jokingly, on Facebook as well.

Because, of course…
http://t2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSZTmRfvFx6Z-eKW2b1IetyH_oJuCq2MKZt8FV7vkkDVw-3ERvo

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Posted: 30 May 2013 12:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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Why -"tag”

Because it is a label.

Here’s what Twitter support has to say about it:

Definition: The # symbol, called a hashtag, is used to mark keywords or topics in a Tweet. It was created organically by Twitter users as a way to categorize messages.

Twitter support got it wrong…

No wonder they are going broke.

[ Edited: 30 May 2013 12:42 AM by OP Tipping ]
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Posted: 30 May 2013 02:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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ElizaD - 28 May 2013 10:18 AM

Here’s a link to an earlier post on hash and hashtag in which Dr Techie (He Who Should Be Listened To) says:

Ah, so the British pound sign (£) replaces the US pound sign (#) as shift-3.

Which is probably why it’s called the “pound” in the States.

Apparently not: Language Log in 2011 quotes William Safire’s investigation into the “press pound” phenomenon in 1991, in which he says

The origin [of the touch-tone keypad term] may be from the use of # to mean “pound,” as in “a 5# bag of sugar,” written by someone unhappy with the abbreviation lb. to stand for “pound.”

and as the comments to that post make clear, # to mean “pound weight” was familiar to many older Americans. It seems to be coincidence that # and £ appear in the same position on American and British keyboards.

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Posted: 30 May 2013 03:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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Tag and tagging are the standard terms for user-based taxonomies in interactive media (see folksonomy). I’m not sure when the specific application of these words arose, but it was probably around 1999 with “Web 2.0.”

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Posted: 30 May 2013 10:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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Not quite the same, but close enough to perhaps have been the origin in web 2.0, “tag” appeared way back in the 1960s in IBM GML (generalized markup language).
Kept in use as SGML (Standard Generalized Markup Language) was born in the mid 1980s and then into the very common XML in the late 1990s.

I think that the term “smart tag” in Microsoft Word may also have been around before Twitter came to life, but not sure on the dates, but very different to hashtags.

However the idea of using some delimiter to allow a string to be picked out and parsed as a label (by human or machine) and using the term “tag” for this is not new.

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Posted: 30 May 2013 10:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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Back to the original post in this thread, “Dièse” for the symbol # is well established in French usage, at least in telephone systems.  However “mot dièse” for “hashtag” as in Twitter use I would guess is a non-starter due to the shear momentum of common use .  The same commission declared that “couriel” should be used for “email” but I have only seen that once, and that was in an official government document.

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Posted: 31 May 2013 01:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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In response to Liberman’s excellent article, linked to by Zythophile directly above, I definitely found The Phone Company’s use of “pound key” confusing at first back in the 80s since I knew it as the “number sign.” However, if I had walked into the grocery and saw “Sugar 5# Bag” I think it wouldn’t have caused a moment of confusion.

A small quibble, this sequence from the article seemed to lack something:

A similar reference can be found in Nancy Lawrence et al., Correlated studies in stenography:
the correlation of business correspondence, English, office practice, and shorthand, 1932:

[picture of text]

But these might literally refer to some rather specialized kind of business shorthand, rather than a general usage. 

Since the whole question revolves around specialized usage in business isn’t that precisely what linguists like Liberman and Safire are looking into? Isn’t specialized usage or jargon or slang precisely the origin of most new terms?

[ Edited: 31 May 2013 01:21 AM by Iron Pyrite ]
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Posted: 31 May 2013 03:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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Since the whole question revolves around specialized usage in business isn’t that precisely what linguists like Liberman and Safire are looking into? Isn’t specialized usage or jargon or slang precisely the origin of most new terms?

They’re looking at two distinct questions: 1) what is the origin; 2) when did it enter common usage. Both dates are rather fuzzy. Occasionally you can pin the origin date down precisely, although usually the evidence is lacking for such precision. As to when a term enters common usage, that’s inherently subjective. Specialized use or jargon may answer #1. It doesn’t help with #2.

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Posted: 02 June 2013 12:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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Every time I look at the subject line, my brain plays “Oh, mot diese n1994z again”. Out of my head, Dr Dre.

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Posted: 02 June 2013 01:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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I know it’s way back in the clouds of time, but does anyone know who first used the word “hashtag” on twitter?  I don’t tweet so wouldn’t know how to find out.

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