Twitter has successfully made hashtagging a social networking essential. If you missed our blog post explaining this prominent feature of Twitter, hashtagging is basically the placing of ‘#’ before terms, which allows all similarly tagged terms to be grouped and searchable together. The reason it has become such an integral part of tweeting is because hashtags can become trends when lost of users implement the same hashtag, and thus can form conversations over a relevant topic, such as the Super Bowl or the Oscars.
Whilst Twitter weren’t the ones to invent tagging and categorisation, they were the ones to incorporate it so well into the social network aspect, that it has become a fundamental tool for other social networks. Instagram caught onto this straight away, allowing for pictures to be hashtagged together, and Pinterest followed suit. And not only are topics and events hashtagged together, but social network-specific trends such as “#followfriday” (for Twitter) and “#latergram” (for Instagram) have become distinguishable characteristics of each medium.
So perhaps it is not surprising that Flickr and Facebook may be finally joining the cool kids with hashtagging. In an effort to catch up with the Instagram powerhouse and to fully integrate itself into Twitter, the iOS app for Flickr now features hashtags (as well as using ‘@’ for usernames – and don’t even get me started on their retro-styled filters). Flickr has even instigated #flickrfridays as a way to invite users to participate in a weekly challenge. Sound like something you might join?
Alongside Facebook’s graph search update, perhaps hashtags are the right step forward to increasing searchable terms. Whilst it is still an unconfirmed rumour, it seems like Facebook is ready to implement such a feature, and could provide much more topic-centred social networking. It would certainly help categorise and group together status updates and photos, whether it may be from one person (e.g. status updates during a concert), or a group of people (e.g. hashtags from everyone that was at your birthday party). There is definitely a lack of such an option currently, and this could be the answer.
How many times have you seen someone mistakenly use a hashtag on Facebook? Perhaps now, publishing posts on multiple platforms at the same time (using services such as Hootsuite) will also be more convenient, with the hashtag being applicable across the board. What do you think? Are hashtags the right feature for Flickr and Facebook? Or do you think they should stick with their current system and not induce the hashtagging frenzy that will inevitably occur?
“John Hardy went from being ‘in a relationship’ to ‘single’.
John Hardy commented on this post: #YOLO”