14 Jun '11, 3pm

#Hashtags have become the secret handshake of Twitter - and IRL, too

NEW YORK - Charlie Sheen's meltdown took many forms: A cocaine-fuelled rampage in a New York hotel room, an erratic radio rant, a vulgar one-man comedy tour. But his biggest contribution to current culture may have been more subtle. With a simple Twitter phrase, #winning, known in the parlance of social media as a hashtag, Sheen underscored one of the newest ways technology has changed how we communicate. Hashtags - words or phrases preceded by the # symbol - have been popularised on Twitter as a way for users to organise and search messages. So, for instance, people tweeting about Congressman Anthony "Underpants" Weiner might add the hashtag #Weinergate to their messages and those curious about the latest developments in the scandal could simply search for #Weinergate. Or Justin Bieber fans might use #Bieber to find fellow Beliebers. But already, hashtags have transcended...

Full article: http://www.todayonline.com/TechandDigital/Digital/EDC1106...

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