Hashtag inventor leaves Google to join collectables startup

Hashtag creator Chris Messina has left Google to join a new digital collectibles startup.

Messina departs to join NeonMob and it comes after he worked for three and half years as a developer advocate and UX designer at Google, with his influence spreading across a wide range of projects.

“I'll be focused on building a community and growing the service, which I believe is building an important, new platform for digital creatives and art enthusiasts,” Messina said in a blog on his own site.

Without doubt his most significant project was to come up with “hashtag”, which has mushroomed on Twitter and recently been adopted by Facebook.

Messina coined the phrase back in August 2007 when he Tweeted: “how do you feel about using # (pound) for groups. As in #barcamp [msg]?”

During his time at Google, Messina was the head of a number of social and community focused projects. This included the Google Developers site as well as an extensive redesign of Google Profiles, the +1 button and brand badges.

NeonMob, the company that will take on Messina, has benefited from his help in an advisory capacity for some time. For those not enamoured with the company, on their own site they describe themselves as follows:

“NeonMob is a platform and community for discovering and collecting awesome, original, limited-edition, digital art. For those who grew up collecting comic books, cards, stamps, coins or other collectible paraphernalia, the concept of collecting online doesn’t stretch the imagination. The difference is, NeonMob is online, which makes finding fellow collectors and trading partners much easier – and on NeonMob, anybody can create stuff for others to collect!”

Messina will be heading the firm’s community and growth programs as part of a six-strong team.

Image Credit: Flickr (melenita2012)