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Hashing Out Facebook’s Hashtag Use

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Twitter users weren’t really surprised when Facebook announced the use and availability of the #hashtag feature….we have been quite used to the idea, really but what got us thinking was, perhaps, WHY were they introducing it. My guess is that they are going to use it to track ideas, news, and trending topics just like Twitter. For those who have not tried it out yet, you can type out the entire hashtag on the search bar and find updates, links, pictures and videos linked to the topic….just like Twitter. You need to type the ‘#’ too…as in #QRCodes or #technologynews or #smartphone.

The thing with the news is that Facebook was not very clear about their intention and revealed little about how they are going to use the feature but your guess is as good as mine…it probably has something to do with advertising and marketing.

It was found that more than seventy five percent of large brand names in the world who has and runs a Facebook account is already testing out the hashtag feature regularly and approximately sixty UK top brands are into it as well.

People are already speculating – Twitter may be the initiator of the whole hashtag thing but is it going to be even more effective and bigger on Facebook?

If there are problems with hashtag use on Facebook, it would be the issue of security. As we all know, people are more free and liberal on Twitter…you don’t give too much thought about tweeting something out. Facebook, on the other hand, is far more private. Facebook users tend to be more connected as they are made out of family, friends and real life acquaintances, therefore, one tends to toe the line a whole lot more on Facebook. With that in mind, status updates are, half the time, posted privately and can only be viewed by friends who are linked with the account.

How will this affect hashtag use? If I were to search for #babymilkpowder on Twitter, I would actually get a whole host of unreserved comments, links, recommendations, updates, news and stuff…no reservations. Would private comments and updates from Facebook users surface too if they had used #babymilkpowder on their status updates if they intended for the update to be private?

A consumer study revealed that less than thirty percent of Facebook users make all their status updates public. How does this stand with Facebook’s use of the hashtag, I wonder. While tweets with hashtags are much easier to handle, it becomes a question whether Facebook should ‘reveal’ a status update under the hashtag if someone else posted a comment on the status update that included the hashtag.

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