Its finally happened, Facebook have caved in and added a hashtag facility. This will enable messages of the same topic to be easily grouped and found by interested parties. So are you familiar with the use of hashtags on other platforms? It struck me that this might be an alien concept to some users – so lets go back to basics – what is a hashtag?
A hashtag is a word or a phrase prefixed with the symbol
# It is a form of metadata tag. Short messages on microblogging social networking services typically Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram – its a way of grouping messages, since they can be searched for the hashtag and get the set of messages that contain it.
Hashtags’ popularity grew concurrently with the rise and popularity of Twitter. It inspired Chris Messina to propose a similar system to be used on Twitter to tag topics of interest on the microblogging network. The first recorded use of the symbol can be traced back to 2007 when the first use of the term “hash tag” was in a blog post by Stowe Boyd, Hash Tags = Twitter Groupings, on 26 August 2007 and it came to prominence later in that year when #sandiegofire was used widely to group postings on the California wild fires.
Today hashtags are used widely to group topics and its hard to see how platforms like Twitter would work without them. On Twitter, when a hashtag becomes extremely popular, it will appear in the “Trending Topics” area of a user’s homepage. The trending topics can be organized by geographic area or by all of Twitter. Hashtags are neither registered nor controlled by any one user or group of users, and neither can they be “retired” from public usage, meaning that hashtags can be used in theoretical perpetuity depending upon the longevity of the word or set of characters in a written language. They also do not contain any set definitions, meaning that a single hashtag can be used for any number of purposes as espoused by those who make use of them.
So how will Facebook use hashtags? According to Facebook’s press office:
“hashtags on Facebook allow you to add context to a post or indicate that it is part of a larger discussion. When you click on a hashtag in Facebook, you’ll see a feed of what other people and Pages are saying about that event or topic.”
So there’s no time like the present – start using hashtags today ! And if you would like to know how to use this in your marketing drop me a line I’d love to help!