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How the Hashtag has changed the Internet communication completely

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017 | Gadgets

Whether #JeSuisCharlie, #RefugeesWelcome or #FreeDeniz: World-moving events are nowadays connected with hashtags. It was invented ten years ago – and since then has completely changed communication, especially on the Internet.

          It has not been so long since the rhombus had no great function. It is present on every phone, and is still far too well hidden on most smartphone keyboards. And this, despite the fact that she has a very strong career in the last ten years. Because on 23 August 2007 the US-American Chris Messina had the idea, with the double cross the still young short news service Twitter better sort. In a tweet, the San Francisco lawyer suggested that certain terms be marked with a rhombus, thus forming groups and discussions. #barcamp was the first hashtag with which Messina triggered an Internet revolution. Ten years later, the hashtag from the linguistic communication – especially online – is not to be imagined. #DesSuisCharlie, for example, introduced after the islamist attack on the editorial staff of the satire magazine "Charlie Hebdo" on January 7, 2015, was and still is a synonym for the world mourning. With the hashtag #RefugeesWelcome, Germany welcomed the many refugees in the late summer 2015, the hashtag has been used more than 500,000 times in the past two years, according to the social media analysts of "Talkwalker" on Twitter. And freedom for the journalist Deniz Yücel, who has been imprisoned in Turkey, continues to demand many under #FreeDeniz. Almost everything that happens in the world nowadays gets a hashtag.
    Image: CDU

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      But like so many great inventions, the hashtag was smiled at the beginning. "Twitter has initially refused to introduce the hashtag," explains inventor Messina retrospectively of the German press agency. There ten years ago, the Hashtag was "nerdy" and could confuse the average user. It took almost two years for Twitter to link all its hashtags and to bring Messina's invention to a new level. "In our first linguistic study on Twitter communication in an international comparison in 2009, less than ten percent of the tweets contained hashtags," says Netaya Lotze from the University of Münster. The concept of the "hashtag community" was at that time still completely unknown. For the real breakthrough of the Hashtags the picture service Instagram provided, believes Messina. "It quickly became clear that you can not quickly find photos without descriptions," says the American. "And instead of long descriptions, people just used hashtags." In the meantime, virtually no social network comes out without the double cross.
    Image: freedeniz.de

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      Not least because the function of hashtags has changed fundamentally. Above all, with Facebook's daughter Instagram, it serves more the cueing of images and only in the second step of forming an interest group. And since there is no character limitation in the contributions, unlike Twitter can be joyously drauf go "gehashtagged". Then the visit to the lake is not only #toll, but also #beautiful, # great, full #sun and # sun. The constant indexing and sorting of all content with the help of hashtags also contains a dangerous effect, says scientist Lotze. This is how users filter more and see only what is linked to certain hashtags – a typical network effect. "They are cooking in their own juice," says Lotze.Commercial and political campaigns are now closely tied to these tendencies. "An example in the commercial sector are the numerous marketing campaigns of cosmetics companies, with hashtags spread through beauty influencers," says Lotze.Und also the policy comes with its campaigns no longer without hashtags. While the SPD entered the Bundestag election campaign with the #Schulzzug, the CDU has shortened its election program to hashtag #fediwgugl. What US president and Twitter fan Donald Trump, however, with the ominous #covfefe said, is still unclear. dpa





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