Whether they've sparked social change, brought together like-minded people or simply made us laugh out loud, there's no denying that hashtags have become a part our everyday life -- so much so it's almost hard to imagine there was ever a world without them.
But alas, not long ago the hashtag was still known as a pound sign and Twitter was just springing to life. Fast forward nine years, and that double cross is everywhere.
Originally created as a means of communicating about a certain subject with anyone across the world, today the hashtag is that and so much more.
But where did it all begin? And how has the humble hashtag changed society as we know it? Take a look back at a few of the hashtags that have changed the world.
According to readwrite.com, #barcamp was the first hashtag ever used. Tweeted by Chris Messina in 2007, #barcamp was used to connect people who wanted to talk about "global technology unconference gatherings called barcamp." May not sound that exciting on the surface, but it was Messina's idea to place a hashtag in front of a word to connect a conversation that made hashtags what they are today.
Occupy Wall Street began in 2011 in New York City as a movement to protest social and economic inequity. The movement quickly spread across the country, thanks in part to Twitter and people sharing their experiences using #OccupyWallStreet.
Ferguson is the perfect example of a hashtag that's used to spark social change. The hahstag popped up in 2014 after an unarmed black teen, Michael Brown, was shot and killed by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. People rallied behind the hashtag, calling for change in all levels of society, while pointing out realities that some people deal with on a daily basis.
Demonstrating the ability to unite the world, #WorldCupFinal trended across the globe as Germany took on Argentina in the 2014 World Cup Final. And while it may not pack a social justice punch, #WorldCupFinal shows how far-reaching hashtags, and corresponding conversations, truly are.
A hashtag that sprang to life in 2014 after nearly 300 schoolgirls were kidnapped in Nigeria, #BringOurGirlsBack demonstrates the power hashtags and social media can have in bringing awareness to a particular cause. This one has grown so big that even first lady Michelle Obama has gotten involved.
WhyIStayed is the perfect example of a hashtag that's been used to have a global conversation about an under-discussed topic. Started by writer Beverly Gooden in 2014, #WhyIStayed gave abuse victims a place to share their stories about why they stayed in verbally and/or emotionally abusive relationships, while allowing others to share in their experiences and help offer solutions instead of blame.
Again, on the surface #TBT might not seem like a "hahstag that changed the world," but the reality is #TBT demonstrates just how far a hashtag can infiltrate society. Whether it's a celebrity, a cooperation or your mom, pictures from the past are rarely posted anymore without the throwback Thursday acronym.
Translated to mean "I am Charlie," this hashtag was used around the world in early 2015 to protest the deadly attack on Charlie Hebdo, a Paris-based publication. The hashtag has become one of the most-used hashtags ever, suggesting that the age of hashtag activism is really just beginning.