In taking a note from Twitter and Instagram, Facebook has finally launched support for hashtags.
That’s right, from (some time) last week forth: any hashtags that you use on other platforms that are connected to your Facebook page will be automatically clickable and searchable on Facebook.
“People were already using hashtags on Facebook — we just made them clickable,” a spokesperson says.
For those unfamiliar with the term hashtag, it’s a searchable phrase prefixed by a “#” symbol that allows others to find all previous posts with a similar hashtag, i.e. hastagging the above photo as #dog #ilovemydog #puppy #cute #yorkie #yorkshire #terrier (so basically the more words you can come up with for the word “dog”, the more likely your photo or post is to show up on various searches— AKA the more likely you are to reach a maximum capacity of “likes”.)
Specifically, for a business, hashtags have proven as a useful tool in seeing what’s trending— whether it’s something specific about a business (“Just had the best linguini at Midtown’s #puccinirestaurant”) or about general but related things (“I love me some #italianfood #pasta”).
Before hashtags, Facebook “search” was rather dull. The only way to see what someone was posting about was if it came up on your minified or they tagged you in something.
Instead, when you now click a hashtag it will bring up posts by your Facebook friends (and others who have public profiles) who have used that particular hashtag. Also, Hashtags from other services, such as Twitter and Instagram, are now clickable as well.
“To date, there has not been a simple way to see the larger view of what’s happening or what people are talking about,” Facebook’s Greg Lindley wrote on the company’s blog today. “To bring these conversations more 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. As a first step, we are beginning to roll out hashtags on Facebook.”
And why hashtags, as opposed to some other symbol or method?
“Hashtags are already happening across Facebook, but now they will be clickable and it will pop out a hashtag feed,” a Facebook spokesperson told ABC News. Facebook also added that hashtags have become a huge part of Internet vernacular.
For a bit of history, it was user Chris Messina who in 2007 created the hashtag as we know it today. Messina, who is now a user experience designer on Google Plus, wanted to create a place to group different tweets when he came up with the user friendly “#”. Since then, the symbol has been adopted by other services, including Flickr, Tumblr, Google+ and as well as the Facebook-owned Instagram. It was only a matter of time, and a bit overdue, that Facebook caught up with the popular social media trend.