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 35)
Alma mater Carnegie Mellon University
Occupation Developer Experience Lead (Uber)[1]

Chris Messina (born January 7, 1981 in the USA) is an American Developer Experience Lead at Uber, where he enforces 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. He posted the first hashtag on Twitter:

How do you feel about using # (pound) for groups. As in #barcamp [msg]?
— Chris Messina, ("factoryjoe"), August 23, 2007[5]

Messina is also known for his involvement in helping to create the BarCamp, Spread Firefox, and coworking[6] 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,[7] leaving to join startup NeonMob.[8] He graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in 2003[9] with a BA in Communication Design. In 2016, Messina Joined Uber to lead their Developer Experience team.[10]

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"[11] 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.[12] In 2008 he won a Google-O'Reilly Open Source Award for Best Community Amplifier for BarCamp, Microformats and Spread Firefox.[13]


Messina was featured with Hunt, also his ex-girlfriend, in "So Open it Hurts", in San Francisco Magazine (August, 2008).[14] The article detailed their very public and open relationship shared on the internet, and the lessons they derived from that experience.

Messina is also credited with introducing the "hashtag" to Twitter.[15][16]


  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. ^ "Chris Messina ✌︎ on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 2016-03-19. 
  6. ^ "Coworking, a cooperative for the modern age". International Herald Tribune. August 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-25.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  7. ^ Happy Birthday, Chris Messina, And Enjoy Advocating The Open Web At Google. TechCrunch (2010-01-07). Retrieved on 2014-05-23.
  8. ^ Yesterday was my last day at Google.
  9. ^ Messina, Chris. "Heading back to Pittsburgh.". Twitter. Heading to Pittsburgh. Man, haven't been back since I graduated in 2003! 
  10. ^ "The guy who invented the hashtag is joining Uber to build the 'future'". Business Insider. Retrieved 2016-03-19. 
  11. ^[permanent dead link]
  12. ^ "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)
  13. ^ "Google-O'Reilly Open Source Awards - Hall of Fame". Retrieved 2011-09-17. 
  14. ^ "So Open It Hurts". San Francisco Magazine. August 2008. Retrieved 2012-06-06.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  15. ^ Parker, Ashley (June 10, 2011). "Twitter's Secret Handshake". The New York Times. Retrieved July 26, 2011. 
  16. ^ "BBC News - Hashtag inventor: It was an 'accidental trip over a simple idea':". BBC. 2014-12-05. Retrieved 2014-12-05. 


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