Chris Messina is the man credited with inventing the social hashtag when he said he sent a private message on Twitter to one of the journalists, Nate Ritter, who was covering a fire in San Diego. He asked him to use the hashtag #sandiegofire for all of his Twitter updates on the story. And so it began. That was in 2007, but many people are still wondering what a hashtag is and how it’s used. So here's the scoop. Basically, a hashtag is a way of identifying a topic or event with the pound sign (#) when posting to social media. Using hashtags makes it easier to find related posts and allows you to join in the conversation. Make a hashtag by starting with the pound sign and adding one or more words or an abbreviation (e.g. #ebooks, #retirementplan, #haveagreatday, #TGIF). Don't use spaces or special characters. You can use numbers in your hashtag just not at the beginning (e.g. #Conference2017 not #2017Conference) otherwise it won't be converted to a hyperlinked hashtag. Some people like to capitalize the beginning of each word in a hashtag, and that's fine, it's your preference — hashtag searching is not case-sensitive. It is easier to read some hashtags when the first word is capitalized (e.g. #bestdayever vs. #BestDayEver). Another tip is don't overuse hashtags, three maximum per post, but one or two is better. Either placing hashtags within your post or tweet or at the end is acceptable. Take a look at some of the different examples of hashtag placement below.