The # (hashtag) has been a major talking point in the world of social media for some time. For some its their favourite thing about social media, being able to tag a particular phrase or activity and instantly see others with similar opinions or subject matters. For others it is the one thing they hate most and instantly puts them off, mainly because a lot of people don’t use it correctly or excessively. However the # tool is already widely used on Twitter, as well as photo-sharing app Instagram, as a way for users to find out what others are discussing and following certain discussions and it has proved extremely popular on all platforms, which is why Facebook have finally caught on.
Facebook users had already begun adding hashtags to comments and status updates, yet they weren’t previously able to use them as a search tool, however Facebook has now made this possible.
When a Facebook user now adds a hashtagged word or phrase to a post, other users will be able to click it and use it as a search term. They will then be presented with a list of other users across the site that are also currently using that word or phrase and discussing the same things.
For example, when Facebook users watch a popular TV show such as The Apprentice, they can add ‘#TheApprentice’ to the end of their posts. Then other users who are also watching the show, or who aren’t watching it but are interested in following what’s happening, can click the hashtag.
The results will be shown as a list that users can scroll through and watch the discussion develop at a glance. Facebook had announced plans to introduce clickable hashtags for users after the success it has had on other platforms of social media, with the hashtag tool already being widely used on Twitter, as well as photo-sharing app Instagram, as a way for users to find out what others are discussing and following certain discussions.
The tool will work in a similar way to how Twitter uses hashtags, updating the results in real-time. Around 20 per cent of users will get the hashtags feature in the initial roll-out, with a full worldwide roll-out expected in the ‘coming weeks.’ Facebook expect their entire fan base to be hashtagging and connecting instantaneously, although not everyone is happy with the news, with some die hard Facebook advocates wanting to remain unique and not follow the trend of the # ….
The # is ever prominent in our popular culture at the moment, even hit new single ‘Blurred Lines’ constantly showcases it and prompts the viewer to use #THICKE in a bid to get the song going viral, which it did.
However hashtags are just one several new features that will be introduced to highlight discussions about events on Facebook.
In a post for the company, Facebook’s Greg Lindley said: ‘To date, there has not been a simple way to see the larger view of what’s happening or what people are talking about.
‘To bring these conversations more to the forefront, we will be rolling out a series of features that surface some of the interesting discussions people are having about public events, people, and topics. As a first step, we are beginning to roll out hashtags on Facebook. Hashtags are just the first step to help people more easily discover what others are saying about a specific topic and participate in public conversations.
‘We’ll continue to roll out more features in the coming weeks and months, including trending hashtags and deeper insights, that help people discover more of the world’s conversations.’
Commenting on the announcement, digital advertising company RadiumOne said: “The omnipresence of the hashtag continues to grow and Facebook’s savvy decision to adopt and adapt the feature demonstrates the brands need to remain current and drive innovation, it’s only surprising that it didn’t jump on this sooner. We have been offering hashtag targeting tools to marketers since the beginning of this year and this has provided extremely positive results for our clients so far.”
We say well done to Facebook for recognising the power of the hashtag and the insight and data it can provide, as well as the connectivity that will now occur as a result of this, bringing people with similar interests and opinions closer together.
(Some text sourced from the daily mail)