What’s Up With # Hashtags?

facebook logo with hashtagHashtags, (the name for the pound sign # on your keyboard) has quickly changed from a noun to a verb. This is all because users of Twitter were looking for a way to signal to others that they were commenting on a particular topic and inviting others to join into the conversation.

Truthfully, this organic creation is an example of social media invention at its best.

Hashtagging is particularly useful at large gatherings like conferences or concerts to virtually assemble a conversation group.  Examples of hashtags might include one word or a run together word like #lansing or #lovelansing. Event coordinators have taken to naming and publishing their event hashtags in advance to encourage a more effective and viral “buzz” for their event.

My use of Twitter has been limited to occasional tweets when sharing new blog content and heavy  use of Twitter for research on conversations that were happening in the Twitter-sphere on topics related to my clients interests and categories. I was rarely moved to use hashtags in my own tweets.

Even though I understood the hashtag phenomenon it always seemed to me that the use of them was exclusionary rather inclusive. Not saying that this was the case, just how I interpreted it. I couldn’t get over the feeling that everyone else had a private side conversation or inside joke happening, #everybodybutme.

Recently Facebook announced that hashtags used on Facebook would now be clickable making it possible to follow conversations or trending topics. While industry experts are saying Facebook is a little late to the hashtag party (which started in 2007) it can be a welcome addition to the Facebook functionality and user experience.  Facebook users will be able to:

-Search for a specific hashtag from the search bar on Facebook

-Click on hashtags that originate on other services, such as Facebook-owned Instagram

-Compose posts directly from the hashtag feed and search results

A word of caution for Facebook users that have applied restrictive privacy settings, it is likely that your hashtag experience will be limited to your friends or friends of friends.  Even so, if you jump in and use the hashtag you may find a richer and more engaging experience, a real conversation.

That is all for now. #nowIgethashtags



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