Posted & filed under Blog, Technology.

Over the past decade, the humble # has evolved into one of the world’s most widely recognized symbols. One of its many names, octothorp, was coined by Bell Labs in the 1960s as a way to refer to the number key on the touch-tone telephone. But the term that has stuck—the one added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2014—is hashtag.

The hashtag’s online debut dates to 1993, when chat rooms used it to designate groups and topics. In 2007, Twitter—then just one year old—adopted the symbol as a way of tracking conversations and trends. (Intrigued by the history of the hashtag? Check out this infographic for more.)

Dozens of social media sites, including Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, now support hashtags in searching and posting. Hashtags can be used to show solidarity—examples from 2015 include #BlackLivesMatter, #LoveWins, and #JeSuisCharlie. They can also be used to follow breaking news or live events. Try searching #ChicagoCubs (or just #Cubs, or even #FlyTheW) for photos and updates from Wrigley, or #Election2016 for the latest from the campaign trail.

Soon, you’ll have a chance to tag your photos with #LincolnwoodLibrary as a way of participating in our Summer Reading Challenge. (Details coming next week!) You can also bring the library’s traveling mascot on your next trip, tagging photos of him with #AdventureAbe. Use our hashtags to tell us what you’re doing on your #SummerVacation, or join the global #FridayReads discussion.

hashtag adventureabe

(Adventure Abe visits Freeport, IL, the site of the August 27, 1858 Lincoln-Douglas debate   #AdventureAbe   #Election1860)