Hashtags: The New Era of Facebook Begins

STORY BY Artie Vincent

Published: July 14, 2013

The nerds behind Facebook are stealing a page from the nerds behind Twitter. The social media conglomerate is finally allowing hashtags to help users expose them selves to a wider audience rather just people they know.  

It is a natural and logical progression for Facebook as it tries to keep up with the uber growth of Instagram, Twitter and Tumblr, whom all rely heavily on clickable hashtags to spread news and exposure amongst its users. 

Many users may feel that the social networking site is abandoning its original beliefs and ethos. However, it’s quite the opposite.

The main reason why Facebook remained successful was its adaptability and fearlessness. The programmers wouldn’t sit in conference rooms to discuss new and better ways to improve its site; they just roll it out and see where it goes.

“Each time Facebook has rolled out a product that was greeted with screams,” Henry Blodget wrote last year on Businessinsider.com. “Some observers of the company have concluded that the company ‘made a mistake’. Although in a limited sense, these features might have included ‘mistakes’, the process itself is deliberate. And it works.”

The introduction of the searchable and clickable hashtags is a step that will succeed in taking Facebook to the next level amongst social media kingpins. 

“Hastags are just the first step to help people more easily discover what others are saying about a specific topic and participate in public conversations,” Facebook executive Greg Lindley told the Huffington Post. 

Lindley told Huffington that it plans to improve and fix the hashtag system to give users the chance to maximize the new feature. He plans the site to unveil trending hashtags and deeper insight links. 

In the same article, Lindley states that Facebook wants to be the jack-of-all-trades social network. They want to be the one source for news as well as trends and photos. 

Twitter uses hashtags as a way to keep tabs on evolving news stories. Tumblr uses hashtags to help users share interests. Facebook, according to its users, are just another way to keep in touch with friends -- the site’s single-dimensionality is a major gripe with users. 

Hence, the company’s newest addition makes the many wonder if Facebook is struggling to find “a new identity.” According to the Huffington Post, the social site has struggled lately with “spammers, face accounts and offensive sub-communities, like those making light of rape.”

Lindley feels that will fix itself. 

But Matthew Lynley of Buzzfeed.com believes that Facebook is clearly targeting more ‘advertisers’ than competing with Twitter. 

“Employing  hashtags gives Facebook the ability to charge a premium for ad inventory,” Lynley wrote on Buzzfeed

Basically when more people that start trending about topics such as the NBA Finals or a new movie, then advertisers become intrigued to buy out space on high traffic trending pages. 

Facebook, however, has tried this once and it didn’t go over well. And the last thing #Mark #Zuckerberg wants is to #alienate its #loyal #users.

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