After a long wait, hashtags have finally reached Facebook. The idea is to let friends share and link information on a variety of tops to generate a more fluid conversation between companies, customers and those who share information on social media sites.
Support for the hashtag organization system went viral in March and will finally roll out to a small percentage of users. Facebook will roll out hashtags to more users in the coming weeks.
Users, however, are pointing to a central design element of Facebook that hashtags clash with.
Facebook seeks to brand themselves as the most user-friendly social media site with a clean layout and presentation. Representatives from Facebook have previously said that hashtags simply don’t look good and certainly do not coincide with what Facebook is known and branded for.
Hashtags originally began on Twitter as a particularly useful way to discover a specific kind of content. If you want to look for all tweets related to a certain sports game in real time, any user can click on the hashtag for any team chosen. If you want to follow along with everyone watching a popular TV show, just look for the hash tag. Many social media experts have acknowledged that hashtags are more effective on Twitter because of the specific following of information. In addition, Twitter lends itself to hashtags because its focus has always been on brevity. Even Twitter posts must not exceed a certain number of characters to prevent clutter.
Hashtags have become so integrated into Twitter that the platform would not exist or be nearly as successful without them. After years of serving as an unofficial search tool, they were integrated into the code in 2010. Now, they’re so vital to Twitter’s identity that the “Discover” tab is marked by a hashtag. Facebook cannot provide real time content like Twitter does. Although marketers would be shortsighted to not use the new feature of Facebook, most can agree the true and most effective platform for hashtags is Twitter, not Facebook.
A big question revolves around the overuse of the hash symbol. Many users of Twitter and Facebook have come to use hashtags in frivolous ways, adding them with no intention of tracking data or linking the information to sites like Pinterest and Instagram. This is also confusing marketers about what consumer opinion really is about their product or service. In the broad scope of social media, hashtags on Facebook were inevitable, but their true effectiveness remains to be seen.