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Chris Messina (open-source advocate)

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Christopher Reaves Messina (born January 7, 1981) is an American technology evangelist who is an advocate for open source and open standards. Messina is best known for proposing the use of the hash character (#) on Twitter as a way of grouping messages.[2][3][4] Inspired by the use of the hashtag in Internet Relay Chat (IRC), Messina's original tweet appeared as follows:

Chris Messina
Chris Messina - 2016.jpg
Chris Messina in March 2016
Born Christopher Reaves Messina
(1981-01-07) January 7, 1981 (age 37)
Bedford, New Hampshire
Residence San Francisco[1]
Nationality American
Alma mater Carnegie Mellon University

How do you feel about using # (pound) for groups. As in #barcamp [msg]?

— Chris Messina, ("factoryjoe"), August 23, 2007[5]

He was formerly Developer Experience Lead at Uber from 2016 to 2017.[6][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. From 2016 to January 2017, Messina lead the Developer Experience team at Uber where he enforced the terms and conditions of Uber's proprietary APIs.[12][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]

In February 2018, Messina launched Molly, an AMA-style website where the questions are answered using the person's social media posts.[17]


Messina was featured with Hunt, also his ex-girlfriend, in "So Open it Hurts", in San Francisco Magazine (August 2008). The article detailed their very public and open relationship shared on the internet, and the lessons they derived from that experience.[18]


  1. ^ "Buy Twitter and dump Trump? Today in hashtag history". SFGate. August 23, 2017. Retrieved September 18, 2017. 
  2. ^ Parker, Ashley (June 10, 2011). "Twitter's Secret Handshake". The New York Times. Retrieved July 26, 2011. 
  3. ^ "BBC News – Hashtag inventor: It was an 'accidental trip over a simple idea':". BBC. December 5, 2014. Retrieved 2014-12-05. 
  4. ^ "The Inventor of the Twitter Hashtag Explains Why He Didn't Patent It". Business Insider. Retrieved 2016-03-19. 
  5. ^ "Chris Messina ✌︎ on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 2016-03-19. 
  6. ^ "Uber denies access to Harvard startup that compared ride-hailing prices". June 5, 2016. Retrieved 2016-06-06. 
  7. ^ (CMU), Carnegie Mellon University. "#OriginStory – Carnegie Mellon University | CMU". Retrieved 2016-03-19. 
  8. ^ Fost, Dan (February 21, 2008). "Coworking, a cooperative for the modern age". The International Herald Tribune. Retrieved August 23, 2017. 
  9. ^ Happy Birthday, Chris Messina, And Enjoy Advocating The Open Web At Google. TechCrunch (January 7, 2010). 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". Retrieved August 23, 2017. 
  16. ^ "Google-O'Reilly Open Source Awards – Hall of Fame". Retrieved 2011-09-17. 
  17. ^ Johnson, Khari (2018-02-19). "Hashtag creator launches Molly to make a personal bot from your social media footprint". VentureBeat. Retrieved 2018-02-24. 
  18. ^ "So open it hurts". Retrieved August 23, 2017. 


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