Budget hash represents a low for social symbol

Posted on April 2, 2013


As the frozen month of March came to an end, the imitable George Osborne did little to warm our collective cockles. However, far worse than the Chancellor’s latest Budget was Ed Miliband’s reference to “hashtag downgraded Chancellor”.

As much as it was a witty retort from Charity Dave’s little brother, with the recent Moody’s downgrade in mind and all, it was mind-numbingly clumsy. However, it does show just how all-encompassing the internet marketing symbol has become.

Miliband’s hashtag reference is far from new though. For more than two years #HIGNFY has appeared at the opening titles of the BBC’s flagship satire show Have I Got News For You for example.

Hashtags aplenty can be found on product labels, billboards, TV and radio ads and even business cards too. Chris Messina, UX-designer is largely charged with introducing the concept. Back in 2007 he tweeted:

“how do you feel about using # (pound) for groups?”

Trying to overlook the annoying use of ‘pound’, (the crazy US word for a hash), it is clearly a statement of intent. So, well done Chris. Sort of. The #tag was already used on the IRC platform to denote groups and topics.

It also took a good 12 months til the Twitterati picked up and ran with the idea, with #followfriday welcoming the worldwide weekend.

Since then, politics, celebs and just bizarre tags have appeared all over

Some have been more successful than others though.

Channel 4 for example has created a whole phenomenon from #IsItOk, on its popular panel comedy show The Last Leg. For contrast, I give you Susan Boyle, and her memorable album launch, for which she had a party…

Internet marketers be warned.

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