If you know much at all about the social media monster Twitter, then you probably know the term hashtag.
For those who don’t, it’s essentially a keyword — or a phrase typed as one long word to force into a keyword — that follows a pound sign, #. When entered into a tweet, it becomes a clickable link users click to find other tweets containing the same word or phrase.
The hashtag is getting some big recognition, thanks to the American Dialect Society.
Hashtag is ADS’s 2012 Word of the Year.
Calling it a “a ubiquitous phenomenon in online talk,” an official with the organization explained why it came out on top:
“In the Twittersphere and elsewhere, hashtags have created instant social trends, spreading bite-sized viral messages on topics ranging from politics to pop culture.”
Hashtag is not a new word; it existed prior to 2012. But being new isn’t a requirement to be the ADS Word of the Year.
Runners-up for the honor included “YOLO,” an acronym for “you only live once”; the politically-inspired “fiscal cliff,” “Gangnam style,” “marriage equality” and “47 percent.”
I bet you can’t guess where that last one came from!