The following excerpt, from the article Facebook is Beta Testing Hashtags, was written by Chris Marentis, Founder and CEO of Surefire Social, and published on SocialMediaToday.com. View the full article to understand the implications the hashtag would have for users and to learn more about why Facebook may be making this move.
According to reports, Facebook has a plan to implement one of Twitter’s most usable features: the hashtag. Although the two social networking sites have their basic differences in social approach, local marketing specialists have begun to focus on how the two are becoming more alike. The more alike the two become the more they will compete directly for advertising revenue and users.
The Gist of the Facebook Hashtag
Basically, Facebook would use the hashtag in a very similar fashion to Twitter. A person can include a hashtag with a post, which will then link users to a page, on which posts and discussion pertaining to the hashtag topic would be displayed and grouped. Hashtags will give Facebook the ability to better display trending “live” or real-time events, such as television shows or sporting events. This has potential for Facebook pages as well as for business and advertisers, who can take advantage of the real-time spikes in interest, products and services associated with the events.
Facebook Hashtags May Serve Two Purposes
While a Facebook hashtag would allow both users and advertisers to more readily participate in trending real-time events, the real motives behind the inclusion of hashtags on Facebook may be to legitimize Facebook’s new graph search. Facebook graph search allows users to search topics and return results based on their likes and the likes of their Facebook friends.
The “Like” is seen by many as a flawed system for generating true and usable search results in the Facebook graph search. Many users like things arbitrarily or feel a social obligation to like a cause. It is too easy to like a post, business, or cause, while actually having no real interest in any of it. Because of this human behavior, the results given currently in Facebook’s graph search are oftentimes not a real reflection of a user’s actual feelings on a topic.
Cast your vote in the comments section: should Facebook incorporate hashtags?