Ep #56: The Hashtag Invention and Social Technology with Chris Messina

by | Podcast

Social technologies have provided us with an unprecedented platform to share our ideas, dreams, and messages with people across the world. This means there's more space to build a community around your ideas and serve your ideal audience, no matter how niche the audience. We have today's guest to thank, at least in part, that these online communities exist and we can communicate in the first place.

Chris Messina has spent over 15 years living on the edge of social technology. He has designed products and experiences for Google and Uber, founded startups, and changed the world with many of his creations, including the hashtag. He also recently became a digital nomad, traveling the world and speaking on social technology, product design, founder culture, and mental fitness. He gave a TEDx talk in Bend, Oregon recently, and we worked together to refine his message – so I'm super excited to share this behind-the-scenes look at his thinking!

Chris starts by sharing the story of how he invented and popularized the hashtag, a story that illustrates the early days of social media, the importance of community, and necessity of persevering with your big ideas. We then talk about why Chris thinks that relationships and human connection should be central to technology, especially as AI and virtual assistants like Siri and Alexa become ever-more popular. And we talk about why he's decided to pack up, become a digital nomad, and lean more into his creative, emotive tendencies after more than a decade in right-brained Silicon Valley.

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • How Chris invented the hashtag and ushered in a new era of social technology and sharing.
  • Why he felt it was important to increase participation in early conversations about the internet and social media.
  • Why Chris has decided to pare down his material possessions and become a digital nomad after living in Silicon Valley.
  • How he keeps relationship building at the forefront of his efforts to build and welcome new technologies into our lives.
  • The context for Chris's new TEDx talk and his central message about technology, human connection, and the future of relationships.

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