It’s ten years this week since Chris Messina suggested on Twitter that we use the # (pound) to organise conversations. To celebrate we’re sharing stories throughout the week that have used a hashtag to great effect and made a lasting impact on Twitter. Today, Sarah Millican and #joinin.
Comedian Sarah Millican took to Twitter in 2011 with the aim to help alleviate loneliness at Christmas. Using the #joinin hashtag to connect people across the platform, she created an open conversation giving support and comfort to those in need.
Last year’s conversation saw more than 29,000 uses of #joinin, almost doubling the 15,000 Tweets from the previous year. Other celebrities threw their support behind the idea and gave up some of their Christmas Day to chat to those who may be feeling lonely. Susie Dent Tweeted, ‘If you're on your own today, @SarahMillican75 is hosting a Christmas Twitter get-together for fun and support on #joinin.’
Writing about why she started the trend, Millican wrote on the women’s website Standard Issue: ‘It started because I’m a big softie and can’t bear the thought of people being alone on Christmas Day. And I don’t mean those who choose to be alone. Good for them. They like being alone, they want it, they have a smashing time.
‘This is not for them. This is for those who don’t choose to be alone, but who are, for some reason, on their tod/bob/own. Be it because they have no family, are estranged from their family, it’s not their turn to have the kids, even just that their partner is at work, whatever. Alone and would rather not be. This is who #joinin is for.’
And if that isn’t enough to spread a warm glow all over, then here is one more reason. ‘A year ago tomorrow, I met my girlfriend on @SarahMillican75 #joinin. It's the most incredible Twitter phenomenon and I'm forever grateful,’ @MHrambling Tweeted last Christmas.