Today, Hshtags turns one! It has been such a journey thus far, learning from our users and constantly rethinking the experience. As I reflect on the past twelve months, I’m amazed at how far we’ve come. So, it’s time to take a trip down memory lane through my eyes…
September 8, 2013 marks the first day Hshtags was put in front of users all over the world. I hyperventilated like a maniac the first day because it wasn’t a quick and seamless launch. It should have been live by 12am that morning but it took almost 2 hours to transfer the files to the production server, because I was naive to the whole process. Nevertheless, it launched, I grabbed a cider, sat on the couch and kept watch for any action or bugs that might pop up. The first day was a rush and my finger was glued to the refresh button as I watched users visit the site. The first few weeks after launch were spent checking my email constantly to make sure no one was having trouble, sending emails to all the social and tech blogs I followed and stalking my analytics account.
OCT - After getting feedback from friends, family and new users I decided to make a big update to the site in October which allowed users to search without signing up. It made all the difference as it attracted more users to search without any requirements.
NOV - Word of mouth is a powerful thing in the startup world and I learnt that first hand. The first big article review came from Molly McHugh over at Digital Trends(1) on November 20, 2013 followed by one from Barry Feldman on Social Media Today(2) within a couple days. I was ecstatic, because it shared like wildfire in a few hours and the responses were great.
DEC/JAN - As a developer, you are constantly rethinking your codebase and if given the opportunity, updating your code to be cleaner and more efficient. Throughout the Christmas holidays, I decided to rethink the structure of the front-end and started rewriting the code with Angular as the base. It solved a lot of the data-binding issues I had and made the codebase much smaller and manageable. In layman terms, I made the right decision.
Did I mention Hshtags was Netted by the Webbys(3) while I was busy coding away!
FEB - Embeds are a commodity every social media platform has, so it quickly became a priority for Hshtags and was released mid February. It has been very popular amongst our users so I’m anxious to get started on the next update which will allow them to be more flexible and customizable.
MAR - Every other support email I’ve received were requests for access to an API that didn’t exist. However, this wasn’t the only reason I decided to build the API. Some of my future plans included live feeds and a mobile app, and they both didn’t need and couldn’t use the backend of the main web platform so I needed a solution that was state and language agnostic, so I began working on the first iteration of the Hshtags API.
I’m working on making it available for public use soon!
APR - April 24, 2014 was the first time Hshtags was showcased in one of the world’s largest startup events, New York Tech Day and it was exhilarating. With two of my good friends, a surplus of branded materials and two interactive installations, Hshtags was booth #137(a number I will never forget). The number of people that stopped at our booth was more than I imagined. We received resumes, business cards, ideas and feedback all in the span of 8hrs and I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything.
MAY - Marija Kanazir from another prominent blog, The Branding Magazine(4) reviewed Hshtags in May while we were also invited to provide an article for the Launched in the Alley series on Alley Watch(5). It was a great opportunity to get our platform in front of prominent people in the startup world.
JUNE - One of the features that almost made the platform feel incomplete was the ability to respond inline to posts within a search results feed. It was a feature that had a few limitations based on the platforms that were supported but regardless I spent the month identifying those limitations and defining the experience. ‘Conversations’ was finally released on June 23, 2014, supporting 5 out of 8 platforms.
JULY - The #worldcup was one of the most trending hashtags from June to July and after the finals I wanted to share how the tag took over social media throughout those 4 weeks. The idea of ‘Hashtag Chronicles’(6) was born. It is a collection of posts tagged with a specific hashtag, from various social media platforms and curated by the Hshtags team. Relive a single hashtag in its moment of glory.
AUG - As the one year mark approached, I struggled with making a decision between two key product launches and the winner that emerged was the first official Hshtags App. The month of August was then spent redefining certain parts of the experience, so both the website and app would feel the same, and building the app. I am excited to announce that the Hshtags app will be released in the week of September 15, 2014!
And there you have it. An inside look into Hshtags and the first twelve months in beta. From features and site updates to reviews and trade shows, the platform has grown a lot over the past year and there is still much more in store. Bring it on year two!
Founder & CEO
(1) Digital Trends, Molly McHugh - http://www.digitaltrends.com/social-media/new-search-engine-like-google-social-web/
(2) Social Media Today, Barry Feldman - http://www.socialmediatoday.com/content/hshtagscom-missing-earning-one-big-idea
(3) Netted by the Webbys - http://netted.net/2014/01/17/hshtags/
(4) Branding Magazine, Marija Kanazir - http://www.brandingmagazine.com/2013/12/05/hshtags/
(5) Alley Watch, Launched in the alley - http://www.alleywatch.com/2014/05/hshtags-the-social-media-search-engine-that-searches-hashtags-about-time/
(6) Hashtag Chronicles - http://chronicles.hshtags.com/