Although an easy target to make fun of (see: “#Hashtag” with Jimmy Fallon & Justin Timberlake), the ever-popular hashtag continues to become even more popular. Hashtags are a way of filtering information on the incredibly dense information-overloaded Twitterverse. Hashtags are extremely practical for creating context for information, especially because they are user-generated.
Twitter was the first to hyperlink hashtags in 2009. Instagram and Google+ eventually joined in. Most recently, Facebook started supporting hashtags. #welcometotheclub
While incredibly appropriate for short, succinct tidbits of information on Twitter, hashtags don’t seem to function as well on the personal network that is Facebook. Amidst the millions of personal Facebook profiles, hashtags are confined to privacy settings galore. On Facebook, I’m interested in my circle of friends and personal relationships, not searching through strangers’ statuses and posts. Digital Trends editor Molly McHugh does a great job of explaining why hashtags aren’t meant for Facebook in her blog post, “Why Do We Hate Facebook Hashtags?”
In terms of brands on Facebook, hashtags may be a bit more useful, though. A hashtag can expand the reach of a post not only to the people that “like” the brand, but also to anyone else interested in the topic. I don’t tend to click on Facebook hashtags, but someone somewhere might. Entrepreneur Steve Cooper whole-heartedly supports the new Facebook hashtags in his Forbes blog post, “Big Mistake: Making Fun Of Hashtags Instead Of Using Them,”saying that hashtags on these social networks aren’t going to disappear anytime soon.
Where are you most likely to use hashtags?