Why using the hashtag is like using a symbol from history.

Ah, the humble hashtag, unheard of before the invention of twitter and just something that you would find on a phone and you had no idea what it was for. Now, of course, we hashtag everything. #JulieandBrendonswedding #fun #loveforeeva when you’ve been to Julie and Brendon’s wedding and would like the world of social media to know about it for example. Another example is when you’ve been in contact with a London Professional SEO services company like this London SEO one. Or when you’ve been for a run on the couch to 5k program and it’s all #fitme2019 #run #marathonin2020, when you’ve managed to get through the first session. What if I told you that the little hashtag is not a recent thing? What if I told you it has its roots deep within the beginnings of human history and it has been around a lot longer than Twitter.

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Let’s drop back to Roman times. The hashtag symbol begins its life as a way of showing a pound weight or libra pondo in Latin if you prefer. The Roman mathematicians needed a symbol that would not be confused with the numeral I or 1 so sticking two lines through it diagonally seemed to do the trick. To make it even more clear a second vertical line was added.

Jump now to the eighteen hundreds. Bookkeeping is very much the rage as there is nothing sexier than a well organised set of ledgers showing steady annual fiscal growth. The use of the hashtag here is as number sign. The question rages, is it a number sign or a pound sign? Don’t worry, it was all sorted out before any more blood could be spilled with the publication of a 1917 manual by the Association of American Bookkeepers. They stated that if the number is written before the hashtag it is a number and if it’s after the hashtag then it’s pounds. Thank goodness that’s all cleared up. The reason we British struggle with the use of the hashtag as a number indicator is because we’ve always used the words No. For example, “This is Beethoven’s symphony # 5” is exactly the same as saying “symphony No.5”.

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Its had lots of other uses like a footnote in academic books, the indication of a bone fracture in a medical report, and checkmate to show a Chess game is over in the game record notes. It features so much in the modern world as it is because Christopher Messina. He suggested that the hashtag was perfect for grouping topics and messages in groups that people wanted to discuss. #cleverblokethatMessina

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