Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Hashtag Inventor Chris Messina Leaves Google to Join Small Startup NeonMob

Chris Messina, known for bringing the hashtag to social media, has left Google after more than three and a half years.

ChrisMessinaAn advocate of open social Web technologies, Messina had first joined Google to lead developer relations for the short-lived Google Buzz product. In recent years, he had worked on user experience design on the Google+ team. His last day was yesterday.

While Messina has kept a somewhat lower profile while working for Google, he’s famous to some for inventing the hashtag in August 2007, a convention that’s now extremely widely used to link conversations across all sorts of media.

Messina said today that he is taking a job at a small, bootstrapped San Francisco startup called NeonMob, which is trying to create a market for digital art. Messina had found the six-person company online, and become fascinated with their efforts to establish the notion of an online art collection. He’ll be head of community and growth, starting next week.

Update: Here’s Messina’s post.


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik