An interview with the hashtag inventor on the symbol’s unlikely role during a challenging and unruly cultural moment

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ALENAST VIA GETTY IMAGES

This interview was given to Andres Lomeña (professor, doctor of sociology, and contributor to Common Action Forum) for the Huffington Post. The Spanish version of this interview can be found here:

Andres Lomeña’s questions are prefixed with AL.
My answers are prefixed with CM.

AL:You have told hashtag’s origins many times, so I wonder if you have considered to write a book about it.

CM: Ha, indeed I have! But less about the hashtag itself, although I’m sure there are plenty of interesting stories to tell. Instead, I’m personally more interested in contemplating the individual’s role and responsibility for the technology products that they create, and what obligations they might have in socializing their motivations, intentions, and purpose, and reflecting on the consequences of their work. …


Elon Musk’s future Tesla is a truck like the iPhone is a phone

Tesla Cybertruck
Tesla Cybertruck
Credit: Tesla

Silicon Valley is all wrong about the Cybertruck, but not like it was wrong about Apple’s AirPods or Amazon’s Echo Show.

The Cybertruck reimagines what a truck is, constitutionally. It’s such a savage departure from our expectations that define a “truck” that we need a new word. It’s in a class of its own.

The Cybertruck may be hired for similar jobs as the Ford F-150 (as Musk asserted), but it consequates much more.

Personally, I see parallels to Steve Jobs’ 2007 launch of the iPhone — a generation-defining moment that birthed a new category: “an iPod, a phone, and an internet communicator.” It may have been unknown that day, but it didn’t take long to feel the enormity of the iPhone’s importance as a modifier of human experience. …


That seems to be what some people believe, if the tweets in response to Kaitlyn Tiffany’s (🐦) story in the Atlantic are any indication.

In Managing Your Friendships, With Software, she writes about several startups whose apps appear to be overtaking the productivity category of the App Store as people seem to be looking for assistance in caring for and attending to their personal relationships:

There’s Dex, “a tool to turn acquaintances into allies.” Clay, “an extension of your brain, purposefully built to help you remember people.” “Forgetting personal details?” Hippo “helps you stay attentive [and] keep track of friends, family and colleagues you care for,” for just $1.49 a month.

About

Chris Messina

Inventor of the hashtag. Ever-curious product designer and technologist. Previously: Google, Uber, Molly (YC W18).

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