I haven’t done a blog post on this straight away as I wanted to gage the reaction from others about what their thoughts were on this introduction. I have seen lots of opinions, mainly on Twitter, and a lot of blog posts and news articles. But what has been the general opinion? To be honest, there has been a lot of negativity surrounding it, but most of this has been about how the hashtag will not be useful to members.
What is a hashtag?
A hashtag is a # symbol placed in front of a word or phrase (with no spaces), which turns in to a link. When this link is clicked on, a list of conversations where the same word or phrase has been used appears.
The arguments have been that, members use Facebook quite privately in comparison to Twitter and therefore, they might not want their conversations to be seen by people who are not their friends. While I can see the argument for this, I also think that, if you are posting on social media, you have already left your footprint on the net.
As well as this, critics have been saying that Facebook members have no use for this feature. They argue that it brings up conversations from all across the world, from companies and individuals, from people that you don’t know, and this information is pretty pointless for a Facebook member. You could say the same for a Twitter hashtag, but this has proved useful for so many sectors, events, webinars, TV programmes etc. However, I do appreciate that Facebook is a different audience and has a more private community feel to it.
So what are the positives?
The positives lie with businesses! And this is why I have been waiting for this development for a while. I have used hashtags on Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, and they are great for finding out what people are saying about a topic. For a business, this gives you a great insight in to what companies, members of the public and experts are saying on such topics, and allows you to get to know your audience better.
It also possible for you to track a certain hashtag, for example for a TV programme, or for an event that you are attending. On Twitter, I have found it useful to track a hashtag for an event or for a webinar – it’s great to see what people are saying on a topic, get involved in a community and chat with others, creating new contacts online.
There are many other positives to using hashtags in general, but for Facebook specifically, I think it will give a new insight for businesses, enabling them to research their consumers, other companies and the general public.
Will users get used to hashtagging on Facebook?
There are questions surrounding whether users will actually use the hashtag on Facebook, and I have to say that my personal opinion on this is yes. Users are already using the hashtag on so many other social media sites, so it is easy for them to transfer using this on to another platform. Also, from the experience of my friends on Facebook, some of them were hashtagging before it was a feature, so I don’t foresee there being any issues here.
You might say why does Facebook need a hashtag when so many other platforms have it? The Facebook audience is different to other sites though, and it is therefore of great use for us to find out information about them in this way.
Let us know what you think about the hashtag – will you use it as a business or with your personal account?
By Sarah Laughran