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In six years the hashtag has gone from an obscure symbol to a powerful and pervasive tool in social media. That short history has been a colorful one. The hashtag has played a part in democratic uprisings across the Middle East, popped up in Super Bowl commercials, and been parodied by Justin Timberlake on late-night TV. Along the way, the rise of the hashtag has unlocked powerful tools for social marketers.
As Twitter prepares to go public and Offerpop releases Hashtag Gallery, a tool that launches user-generated content and social marketing campaigns powered by the hashtag, Offerpop built this infographic to pay homage to the past and future of the hashtag.
The hashtag is already dominating mobile conversations, boosting the power of the Tweet, and enabling social media users to search and connect social conversations as never before. More than 70 percent of mobile users use hashtags, and a tweet is 50 percent more likely to be re-tweeted if it contains a hashtag.
But the hashtag’s past is only a preview of what is to come. The hashtag’s central role in connecting social conversations, organizing social data, and signaling brand loyalty — all in real-time — ensures that the simple symbol is here to stay.