A feature that's primarily considered to be a staple on Twitter (but is also used on platforms such as Pinterest), hashtags are a great way to link your post to a public conversation; Facebook has repeatedly said it aims to become more of a public forum, hence the addition of working hashtag options in its own posts.
Considering that a number of people already used hashtags in their Facebook posts that just didn't go/link anywhere before now - usually this happened as a result of syndicated posts from Twitter or Intagram updates - at first glance this does may not seem like that big a deal to anyone who barely uses social media beyond a basic level (as opposed to addicts who live, breathe and work within the medium like myself).
As articles are released, though, it's clear just how many opinions there are about this. Just a small sample of articles include:
- Business Insider highlighed how the new feature will allow businesses and brands to promote their posts while also following conversations amongst their fans and the general public on Facebook - this could be a great way for brands to get a better idea about what people say and think about them.
- CNET mentioned that Facebook may begin to mimic Twitter more in the future as it finishes releasing its hashtag features - including a section highlighting trending topics and tags.
- ABC took time to remind people to review their privacy settings now that hashtags are making posts searchable; obviously an easy solution to this would be to just not use hashtags on private profiles, but inevitably some people will not take this approach. This is especially concerning considering the tests that a few friends and I did at my account managing job today: it looks like private posts with hashtags can be made visible to others when people comment on them. Now, whether that comment makes the post totally public or shows it to people within specific networks, we're not sure; either way, a "private" post with a hashtag may not be private for long.
- Simiarly, BuzzFeed highlighted how this new feature will change what "public" means on Facebook - and that this may very quickly test the patience of Facebook users.
- One article has gone as far as to say that the entire hashtag system on Facebook is broken from the ground up, and that Facebook will never be able to capture the "hashtag magic" that Twitter has.