Features

The history of hashtags

GEMMA GATTICCHI

The term ‘hashtag’ was added to the Merriam Webster dictionary in 2014 as “a word or phrase preceded by the symbol # that classifies or categorises the accompanying text (such as a tweet).” Also known as the ‘octothorpe’, the hashtag has transitioned into one of the most recognisable symbols in recent years.

Apart from its prior uses, the hashtag as we know it today was introduced in 1988 on Internet Relay Chat (IRC). Here, users communicated with each other through channels indicated by hash signs. Their use in IRC was similar to their use today; grouping messages and visual content into categories in order to easily view the related content.

The hashtag has since shot to fame after former open source advocate and Uber Developer Experience lead, Chris Messina’s 2007 tweet, “how do you feel about using the # (pound) sign for groups. As in #barcamp [msg]?” Here he became the first person to use the hashtag on Twitter, as it is currently used, by asking his followers how they felt about using the hash to group conversations. Initially, Twitter founder Evan Williams said hashtags would be unpopular due to their technical approach, but 10 years later its popularity has contradicted his statement.

Read more: The history of hashtags

Tourism – a thriving industry in an ailing economy

DITEBOGO TSHAKA

A tourism and migration report from Stats SA said that “tourists increased by 2.5% from 691 414 in June 2016.” The WorldTravel and Tourism Council (WTTC) reported that travel andtourism contributed R402 billion to the South African economyin 2016 (9.3% of GDP) and is expected to grow by 2.5% toR412.2 billion (9.4% of GDP) in 2017. According to Stats SA,turnover in the mining and quarrying industry faced an 8.7%decrease, a 6.4% decrease in the construction industry, anda 6.0% decrease in the manufacturing industry. Stats SA alsoreports that the “South African economy moved into recessionwith the reported decrease of 0.7% in GDP during the firstquarter of 2017, following a 0.3% contraction in the fourthquarter of 2016”.Professor Berendien Lubbe, Head of the Tourism ManagementDivision under the Department of Marketing Managementdefines tourism as an “industry that serves people who traveloutside of their usual place of residence for more than 24 hoursfor purposes such as holiday, business, sport, religion or visitingfriends and family not related to the exercise of an activityremunerated from within the place visited”.In South Africa, tourism makes up 4.5% of overallemployment and, according to Prof. Lubbe, is an industry“strongly focused on the concept of ‘decent jobs’ as well”.

Read more: Tourism – a thriving industry in an ailing economy

South Africa's poaching problem

GEMMA GATTICCHI

Animal poaching is the illegal killing of an animal, usually because the animal possesses something of value for humans. In recent years this practice has become a major threat to the survival of South African wildlife and tourism.

Read more: South Africa's poaching problem

Update on employment in South Africa

KATHERINE ATKINSON

South Africa’s unemployment rate has remained at 27.7% for the second quarter of 2017. This is an increase compared to the second quarter of last year’s unemployment rate of 26.6%. This is also the highest unemployment rate South Africa has seen since the all-time high of 31.20% in the first quarter of 2003.

Read more: Update on employment in South Africa

Don’t shoot the messenger: a guide to diplomatic immunity

LORINDA MARRIAN

On 20 August Zimbabwean First Lady, Grace Mugabe was granted diplomatic immunity by the South African government after being accused of assaulting South African model, Gabriella Engels on 13 August. After the incident, Mugabe was requested to turn herself in to the South African authorities and after failing to do so, requested diplomatic immunity from the South Africa government.

Read more: Don’t shoot the messenger: a guide to diplomatic immunity

Flip Through Perdeby

Perdeby Poll

Will you be attending OppiKoppi this year?

I don't trust the dust, even if there are Mangoes - 59.3%
Oppi is an institution, I wouldn't miss it for the world - 25.9%
But daisies though... - 14.8%

Video Gallery