It seems that the popular hashtag concept that was made popular by Twitter years ago, is slowly being adopted by most major social networks. Only about a month ago, Google+ adapted the concept and now Facebook has announced that it will also begin to roll out a hashtag feature on the popular social network starting this week and continuing over the coming weeks.
As Facebook puts it, “to date, there has not been a simple way to see the larger views of what’s happening or what people are talking about” so in order to “bring these conversations 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” and “as a first step, they will be rolling out hashtags on Facebook.” What Facebook doesn’t seem to understand however is that there actually already are many “simple” ways to “see the larger views of what’s happening” – and there have been for a while now.
Starting June 12 2013, hashtags have become searchable and clickable on Facebook, meaning that if you click on a hashtag you will be able to see a feed with what other people are saying about a particular topic. Hashtags that have originated from Instagram will also be clickable in the same way.
The hashtag feature is incredibly useful – it’s a great way to find out what people are saying about a particular subject and to be honestit’s one of the things that I love most about Twitter. Many other social networks saw the importance of hashtags and adopted them, such as Tumblr and Google+ and now, finally, Facebook. But I have to ask: my God, what took you so long?? And that leads to another question – why now, after all this time? One might argue that one of the causes for this timing is the fact that Google+, their main competitor, introduced a hashtag feature about a month ago. Don’t get me wrong – it really was about time they woke up and did it; but their timing does seem strange.
It’s quite funny though how a company that was so groundbreaking and innovative in its beginnings, is now just constantly playing catch-up with other social networks to try and keep up and stay on top. What isn’t as funny however is how they keep pretending that they are the ones who are innovating.
What will be interesting to see is if they will be trying to monetize the hashtags feature in the near future, which seems quite likely looking at their recent history.
After spending some time on social media to see what other people are saying about the new feature (yes Facebook, it is possible to do that already even without your help), I’ve noticed that not everybody is happy about it; some are raising privacy issues and some are just accusing Facebook of being a copycat.
It will be interesting to see if hashtags actually work on Facebook, since unlike Twitter where most tweets are public, here many posts are private and only intended for friends.
Overall, its #abouttime that Facebook made full use of hashtags. What do you think of the hashtags feature? Will it work on Facebook? Please leave your comments