Many people who use social media sites such as Twitter and Instagram may be familiar with the infamous hashtag (formerly known as the pound sign).
For those who are not familiar, the hashtag is defined as a word or phrase prefixed with the # symbol. The idea is when you create a hashtag, you are emphasizing key words in your post and creating a way for people to click on your hashtag to see what others around the world are saying about the same topic.
For example, if you send out a tweet saying “I am loving the beach,” followed by “#Summer2013,” people who read my tweet will then be able to click the “#Summer2013” and be redirected to the latest tweets from everyone else on Twitter tweeting about Summer 2013.
While it can be a hard concept to grasp at first, hashtags are a good way to find others who are interested in the same topics or to simply create an interesting discussion.
Hashtags aren’t limited to Twitter, however. Facebook announced in a blog June 12 it is now offering clickable hashtags.
Facebook said the point is “to add context to a post or indicate that it is part of a larger discussion.” Just add your hashtag and when you click, “you’ll see a feed of what other people and Pages are saying about that event or topic.”
As a person who uses both Facebook and Twitter, I have seen this feature coming for a long time. Everyone has that friend who will link their Twitter profile to their Facebook, therefore blowing up your newsfeed with a face full of hashtag-filled dumb posts. Or, better yet, there’s the friend who doesn’t care they are using Facebook instead of Twitter and posts a hashtag after all their status updates.
My personal opinion is, hashtags belong on Twitter. I am tired of Facebook constantly making updates mimicking others social media sites, in an attempt to keep their appeal.
Back in the early days of Facebook, when someone wanted to talk about a topic on a wider scale, they created a Facebook group. Those days are on their way out. Why make a group when you can talk about it now with a hashtag? I understand it is fun to talk with others about a hot topic but no one wants to see all your hashtag posts on Facebook about the latest football game.
We need to remember why Facebook was created: to connect and keep up with friends, not annoy them to death with pointless posts. That’s why we have Twitter.
Another thing I wonder is how this affects our privacy. If we are adding hashtags to our status updates, we are linking our status to the rest of the world of others posting about the same thing and therefore, allowing people we don’t even know access to our status updates.
In the age of social media, it is easy to get caught up in what’s new or trendy in technology. My advice to those who use social media: be careful what you post; think about where your posts are going before you try a new feature and, for the love of all things good, save your hashtags for Twitter.