Chris Messina (open source advocate)

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Chris Messina
Chris Messina - 2016.jpg
Chris Messina in March 2016
Born (1981-01-07) January 7, 1981 (age 36)
Alma mater Carnegie Mellon University
Occupation Developer Experience Lead (Uber)[1]

Chris Messina (born January 7, 1981 in the USA) is a former American Developer Experience Lead at Uber, where he enforced the terms and conditions of Uber's proprietary APIs.[2] Previously an open source and open standards advocate, Messina is best known for his idea to group messages on social media using a single character hash (#), now commonly known as Hashtags [3]

The use of the number sign in IRC inspired[4] Chris Messina to propose a similar system to be used on Twitter to tag topics of interest on the microblogging network. In 2007, he posted the first hashtag on Twitter:[5][6]

How do you feel about using # (pound) for groups. As in #barcamp [msg]?
— Chris Messina, ("factoryjoe"), August 23, 2007[7]

Messina is also known for his involvement in helping to create the BarCamp, Spread Firefox, and coworking[8] movements. Messina is an active proponent of microformats and OAuth.


Messina was employed as an Open Source Advocate at identity company Vidoop and before that was the co-founder of marketing agency Citizen Agency. He worked at Google as an Open Web Advocate,[9] leaving to join startup NeonMob.[10] He graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in 2003[11] with a BA in Communication Design. In 2016, Messina joined Uber to lead their Developer Experience team,[12] but he left in January 2017.[13]

Messina co-founded Citizen Agency, a company which describes itself as "Internet consultancy that specializes in developing community-centric strategies around product research, design, development and marketing"[14] with Tara Hunt and Ben Metcalfe, who has since left the company.

Messina was an advocate of open-source, most notably Firefox and Flock. As a volunteer for the Spread Firefox campaign, he designed the 2004 Firefox advert which appeared in The New York Times on December 16, 2004.[15] In 2008 he won a Google-O'Reilly Open Source Award for Best Community Amplifier for BarCamp, Microformats and Spread Firefox.[16]


Messina was featured with Hunt, also his ex-girlfriend, in "So Open it Hurts", in San Francisco Magazine (August, 2008).[17] The article detailed their very public and open relationship shared on the internet, and the lessons they derived from that experience.


  1. ^ Uber denies access to Harvard startup that compared ride-hailing prices. 2016-06-05). Retrieved on 2016-06-05.
  2. ^ "Uber denies access to Harvard startup that compared ride-hailing prices". 2016-06-05. Retrieved 2016-06-06. 
  3. ^ "The Inventor Of The Twitter Hashtag Explains Why He Didn't Patent It". Business Insider. Retrieved 2016-03-19. 
  4. ^ (CMU), Carnegie Mellon University. "#OriginStory - Carnegie Mellon University | CMU". Retrieved 2016-03-19. 
  5. ^ Parker, Ashley (June 10, 2011). "Twitter's Secret Handshake". The New York Times. Retrieved July 26, 2011. 
  6. ^ "BBC News - Hashtag inventor: It was an 'accidental trip over a simple idea':". BBC. 2014-12-05. Retrieved 2014-12-05. 
  7. ^ "Chris Messina ✌︎ on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 2016-03-19. 
  8. ^ "Coworking, a cooperative for the modern age". International Herald Tribune. August 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-25.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  9. ^ Happy Birthday, Chris Messina, And Enjoy Advocating The Open Web At Google. TechCrunch (2010-01-07). Retrieved on 2014-05-23.
  10. ^ Yesterday was my last day at Google.
  11. ^ Messina, Chris. "Heading back to Pittsburgh.". Twitter. Heading to Pittsburgh. Man, haven't been back since I graduated in 2003! 
  12. ^ "The guy who invented the hashtag is joining Uber to build the 'future'". Business Insider. Retrieved 2016-03-19. 
  13. ^ "Today is my last day at Uber". Retrieved 2017-01-07. 
  14. ^
  15. ^ "Mozilla Foundation Places Two-Page Advocacy Ad in the New York Times". 2004-12-15. Retrieved 2010-06-15.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  16. ^ "Google-O'Reilly Open Source Awards - Hall of Fame". Retrieved 2011-09-17. 
  17. ^ "So Open It Hurts". San Francisco Magazine. August 2008. Retrieved 2012-06-06.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)


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