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Facebook adopts hashtag feature

Graeme Parton

Facebook announced last week that it has introduced a new hashtag feature, allowing posts to be attached to subject-specific categories.

The feature will be**more** familiar with those who already use microblogging site Twitter, where it is used to make it easier for other users to search for certain content. It can also be seen in practice on Pinterest, Tumblr and, more recently, Vine.

As well as allowing users to search for specific discussions, the tool will reveal the most popular topics of public conversation. Trending tags tend to revolve around major film releases, big news stories or popular memes and viral content. The new Superman movie, for example, is currently a hot topic on Twitter.

Facebook’s product manager, Greg Lindley, spoke about the decision in a recent blog post, saying:

“Every day, hundreds of millions of people use Facebook to share their thoughts on big moments happening all around them. Whether it’s talking about a favorite television show, cheering on a hometown sports team or engaging with friends during a breaking news event — people on Facebook connect with their friends about what’s taking place all over the world.

“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.”

Facebook’s announcement comes after Google announced that it would introduce hashtags to its own social media offering, Google+. Facebook also said the hashtags would compatible across different platforms, such as Instagram, which it bought in April 2012. It’s not yet clear whether the interoperability will stretch to any other sites.

The chance to trend among Facebook’s huge community will no doubt appeal to brands both big and small. While it may seem difficult to compete with big budget blockbuster films in any other context, it’s important to remember how a miserable looking cat has spent 2013 capturing the minds of social media users across the world.

Graeme has experience creating content for online sources and for the radio, and at university he studied Multimedia Journalism.

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