We’ve seen them on Facebook before, but we never paid attention or just got annoyed because #hashtags on Facebook have been nonexistant. But now, Facebook is finally rolling out hashtags as a part of their new updates.
Hashtags were introduced by Twitter but it is widely used throughout social media. Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, Vine, and Tumblr are just some of the companies who have jumped on the hashtag bandwagon. Here’s how the hashtags will affect you.
Where did these hashtags come from?
You can thank Chris Messina for that (now considered the father of the Hashtag.) The hashtag as we use it today was born on August 23, 2007, with a simple tweet:
This started a string of conversations that involved many people including Stowe Boyd, Chris Heuer, Stephanie Booth, Brian Oberkirch, and Brian Solis (to name a few.) The hashtag spread organically through the Twittersphere and quickly became adapted by virtually every user on the site. By July 2009, Twitter formally adopted the hashtag by creating a hyperlink with any word or phrase preceded with the symbol #.
The twitter hashtag created a psychological phenomon where people consciously injected a word or expression that indexed the Tweet and ultimately entire threads. With the popularity of using hashtags to categorize topics and expressions, this usage started bleeding into other social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram. However, unlike Twitter, Facebook had no way of connecting threads with hashtags. Until now.
Hashtags will finally have a purpose
Let’s be honest, for those not on Instagram or Twitter, you would roll your eyes whenever you saw a tweet or a photo with a hashtag appended to it on your Facebook feed. And things like #tbt, what on earth does that mean? Facebook came late to the party, but the new rollout of hashtag feature in June 2013 was a welcome addition for the largest social median network. Now, words and phrases preceded with a # are clickable and searchable, so you can see what the heck the other 1.3 billion users (and growing) are saying about #lastfridaynight.
If someone’s Twitter is set up to automatically post to Facebook, the entire tweet and associated hashtags are included. Now: the hashtags will populate with other posts on Facebook that share the same hashtag. In addition to enhanced search options, Facebook hash tags will make searching for and participating in conversations around public events much easier. When a person clicks on a hashtag, a screen will pop up will all the posts containing the same word in addition to suggestions for other related topics. You can also search for hashtags using the search bar at the top of the screen.
From the user point of view, using hashtags on Facebook will allow you to potentially reach a greater audience with your post. Keep in mind, however, that your privacy settings will affect your reach. For example, if you are limiting your posts to your friends, your hashtag is also limited to only your friends.
Currently, the hashtag feature is still limited to some accounts and is slowly being rolled out to everyone. Mobile will soon follow, but for now you can test out the Facebook hashtag and all it has to offer on the web. Turning it over to you now, what do you think of the new Facebook hashtag and do you think it will change your behavior as a user?