HASHTAGS OF THE MONTH: BETWEEN SOCIAL MEDIA BLACKOUTS AND MILITARY BREAKOUTS
On August 19, the Lebanese Army launched an unprecedented military campaign against Daesh militants entrenched on the Lebanese-syrian border, scoring rapid advances since day 1 and ultimately pioneering the complete withdrawal of ISIS fighters from the country. The successful 10-day operation, dubbed “Fajr Al Juroud”, prompted a wave of support among Lebanese citizens, who took to Twitter to voice their solidarity with the army and celebrate its long-awaited triumph against terrorists, which eventually propelled the corresponding hashtag into the limelight.
American pop singer-songwriter Taylor Swift was the talk of the Internet for three consecutive days after mysteriously wiping all of her social media accounts at once on August 18, leaving fans in utter confusion and sparking a deluge of fan theories and media speculations about her abrupt disappearance. Swift’s retreat did not seem to last long as she went back online shortly on August 21 with a cryptic snake video posted to her Instagram. The social media stunt ultimately turned out to be a promotional strategy for her upcoming album Reputation. Needless to say, the first single from the album, “Look What You Made Me Do,” went on to achieve the biggest 24-hour debut in Youtube history as a result, earning 43.2 million views in one day.
The Symbol of a Decade: Twitter’s Hashtag Turns 10
August 23 marked the 10th anniversary of none but the Twitter’s beloved hashtag. Twitter officially celebrated the occasion with a special hashtag (obviously), #Hashtag10, and proceeded to tweet a tribute thread to its iconic symbol. The thread started with a quote-retweet of the first ever tweet where the hashtag character was used as a way of grouping messages. The 2007 tweet in question goes to American technology evangelist Chris Messina, who has been credited ever since as the inventor of the hashtag. “From breaking news to movements that unite us and bring about change. Here's to 10 years of trending hashtags on Twitter. #Hashtag10,” the last tweet in the thread reads. Twitter co-founder Biz Stone also wrote a blog post titled “The hashtag at 10 years young”, commemorating the anniversary. Besides tracing the origins of the widely-used symbol, his post reported that a whopping 125 million hashtags are tweeted every day on average! #Tomanymorehashtagstocome