Facebook officially introduced the hashtag! What are they, how do they work and why has Facebook decided to enable them? The function is familiar to us as it’s available on other social networks like Twitter, Google+ or Facebook’s Instagram but FB has always intentionally avoided to enable this convenient feature.
On this first article about Hashtags – I’ll explain, to those who don’t know, what are # hashtags. Then a bit about how to use them properly on Facebook.
What are hashtags?
“The hashtag is a tag used in some type of social networks to create the labels. They are formed by words or combinations of words concatenated preceded by the symbol # (hash, hash in English) “( Wikipedia )
For those unfamiliar with Twitter, Google+, Instagram or other social networks that use #s may find this new connection between updates a bit ‘annoying to see in your news feed.
The hashtag is used to organize and categorize public news or updates about a specific topic. Example: If a public status update is talking about the temperature in Paris, you could search for the tags (or if you prefer keywords), such as #Paris #summer. If I speak at an event, such as Apple Developers Conference I could tag my Facebook status updates with #WWDC2013 and so on.
The hashtag thus serves to organize the information and present the content in one location. This allows us to find out what people are saying on Facebook about a specific topic, and help us find new people and pages to follow.
Why Facebook has waited so long?
Personally, we here at Tricks Facebook believe that Facebook had a particular goal of connecting real friends together. All the actions and tools Facebook offered revolved around friendship. Over the years, the strategy / policy has changed and Facebook has become increasingly more open to new connections, pages and people. A great example of this open structure came with the Subscribe feature, Facebook’s first big push for content shared to the public,. Then came the introduction of social search, lists of interests and so on.
The hashtag is a GIANT step towards a global Facebook network. This feature gives each user the potential to discover new people and pages and ultimately create new connections.
How do Facebook hashtags work?
The function was activated globally on Sunday June 16th 2013, today.
To add a hashtag to a status update, link, comment, photo, or to any content you publish, it’s very easy: just add the # (symbol) before the word that you want to tag. The hashtag can not be composed of several words, so if you need to tag with multiple words you’ll need to join them or insert an underscore (example: #Apple_iOS7 or #AppleiOS7). The only characters allowed in the hashtag seem to be alphanumeric characters (letters and numbers) and the underscore (_underscore).
Once an update is tagged, the linked words can be clicked on to display public conversations about that topic, a specific page, example: facebook.com / hashtag / facebook.
Privacy and Hashtag
Before you flipout about privacy, read these considerations:
The privacy settings of your content remains. This means that only users who can see your content (status, photos, videos) will see your hashtags.
If you post something only visible to friends no one else can see it, no matter whether there are any hashtags or not. Your hashtag will be clickable by your friends, so that they can go see other conversations (of other users or pages) tagged with the same keywords.
Only post are included in the hashtag feed page. If you put a hashtag in a comment it will not be displayed on this page.
A hashtag can also be searched by using the search box at the top of Facebook. You can use both your computer and mobile phone, even if the hashtag isn’t clickable from your mobile phone.
Use hashtags to discover new people and pages and participate in the greater conversation. For companies, use them to find potential clients and new customers.
Let the time of #Facebook #Hashtag begin!