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Rebecca Zisser / Axios

Today is the 10th anniversary of the first Twitter hashtag. It was #barcamp, sent by former Google designer Chris Messina, in reference to a user-generated conferencing group he had helped create called BarCamp.

Why it matters: Hashtags have become a huge part of Internet culture and language. Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake have famously spoofed Internet conversations via hashtag-only banter skits, and viral hashtags like #tbt (throwback Thursday) and #blessed have become integrated into everyday conversations in real life. Studies have suggested that nearly 3/4 of all internet users use hashtags to communicate. And hashtags have also spread to other Internet platforms, like Facebook, which adopted the feature in 2013.

Messina tweeted the hashtag as a recommendation for Twitter to create groups by automatically adding hyperlink metadata to any word that followed the "#" symbol. Twitter initially rejected the idea, saying hashtags were for "nerds," but eventually adopted the hashtag into its code in 2009.

New data from Twitter:

125 million hashtags are Tweeted per day on average.#ThrowbackThursday and #tbt have been Tweeted 120 million times and #ootd has been Tweeted over 2 million times.Five of the most-used hashtags over the past decade originate from fans tweeting during award shows. #MTVHottest, #MTVStars, #KCA, #iHeartAwards and #BestFanArmy have all been used over 3 billion times.The most Tweeted television show hashtag of all time is #TheWalkingDead and the most Tweeted about movie hashtag of all time is #StarWars. The most Tweeted global sporting event hashtag is the #WorldCup and The most Tweeted US sporting event is the #SuperBowl. The most Tweeted about league hashtag is #NFL and the most Tweeted team hashtag is #MUFC.

Go deeper

USAID chief tests positive for coronavirus

An Air Force cargo jet delivers USAID supplies to Russia earlier this year. Photo: Mikhail Metzel/TASS via Getty Images

The acting administrator of the United States Agency for International Development informed senior staff Wednesday he has tested positive for coronavirus, two sources familiar with the call tell Axios.

Why it matters: John Barsa, who staffers say rarely wears a mask in their office, is the latest in a series of senior administration officials to contract the virus. His positive diagnosis comes amid broader turmoil at the agency following the election.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
3 hours ago - Health

COVID-19 shows a bright future for vaccines

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Promising results from COVID-19 vaccine trials offer hope not just that the pandemic could be ended sooner than expected, but that medicine itself may have a powerful new weapon.

Why it matters: Vaccines are, in the words of one expert, "the single most life-saving innovation ever," but progress had slowed in recent years. New gene-based technology that sped the arrival of the COVID vaccine will boost the overall field, and could even extend to mass killers like cancer.

5 hours ago - Health

Beware a Thanksgiving mirage

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Don't be surprised if COVID metrics plunge over the next few days, only to spike next week.

Why it matters: The COVID Tracking Project warns of a "double-weekend pattern" on Thanksgiving — where the usual weekend backlog of data is tacked on to a holiday.