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Why in the world did Facebook ever think it needed hashtags?

When hashtags were first introduced to Facebook, they were all over the place. But, lately, it is getting harder to find them on anyone’s news feed. If you are confused about Facebook hashtags Facebook Follows Twitter's Lead And Adds Hashtags To Posts [Updates] Facebook Follows Twitter's Lead And Adds Hashtags To Posts [Updates] Facebook has just announced that it is becoming a little more like Twitter, as the social networking giant is now adding hashtags to posts. For the uninitiated, users click hashtags and are taken to a... Read More , or wondering why they’re simply not working, here are a few pieces of information you may want to know.

Hashtags Are Not Native To Facebook

Hashtag Tweet

Hashtags have been kicking around the engineering community since the 1970s. Twitter was launched in late 2006. In 2007, a programmer named Chris Messina recommended that hashtags be used on Twitter. Twitter users are able to create conversation streams using hashtags #RandomDoesntCutIt: How To Choose The Right Hashtag For Your Tweet #RandomDoesntCutIt: How To Choose The Right Hashtag For Your Tweet Hashtags have become something of an integral element in today's social media but so many people misuse, abuse them, or simply don't know how to choose the right one. Read More , which helped Twitter to take off. Twitter basically grew up with hashtags.

Facebook has been around for almost 10 years before it started using hashtags. By the time hashtags hit Facebook, it just looked like Facebook was copying Twitter.

Hashtags May Not Be Necessary On Facebook

Facebook Hashtags

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Prior to hashtags, there really was no way to create conversation streams on Twitter. Hashtags have an important role on Twitter in that they allow users to discuss topics and respond to each other’s tweets.

Facebook is based on creating streams of conversations. Facebook users can create groups and converse about individual topics. Hashtags work on Twitter HOW TO: Effectively Use Twitter Hashtags HOW TO: Effectively Use Twitter Hashtags Read More because they are essential. Facebook hashtags can be used to create conversation streams as well, but hashtags are not essential to bringing people together on Facebook.

Furthermore, the recent introduction of Facebook’s Trending Topics Facebook's Trending Topics - Should You Stop Using Hashtags Now? [Weekly Facebook Tips] Facebook's Trending Topics - Should You Stop Using Hashtags Now? [Weekly Facebook Tips] Facebook recently announced a new "Trending Topics" feature, to make it easy to see what the world was talking about on Facebook. But what happened to hashtags? What should we use now? Read More renders them even less useful.

Facebook Users Seem Confused About Hashtags

Random Facebook Hashtags

All you need to do to create a hashtag on Facebook is put a pound sign in front of a set of words run together without spaces and hit “enter.” So if I wanted to create a hashtag on Facebook, I could just type #MakeUseOf on my Facebook status and it would instantly become a hashtag. It’s that easy.

If you actually click on most hashtags on Facebook, however, they lead to what looks like empty conversations. That is because hashtags are still being used as a sort of novelty by most Facebook users, potentially diluting the real effectiveness of this conversation tool. Either that, or they’re used in promotional posts actual users don’t care enough about.

Facebook Hashtags Are Clogging Up The Internet!

Facebook Hashtag Madness

Each and every hashtag created on Facebook gets its own Internet URL. This wouldn’t be a problem, except for the fact that some Facebook users create thousands of hashtags for the same topic.

When Dennis Rodman did his rant on CNN from North Korea, there were thousands of hashtags about the topic created by Facebook users. In most cases, clicking on the hashtags leads to empty conversation streams. With each hashtag creating its own URL, Facebook could be looking at millions of URLs over the next few years. Is the helpful in any way?

Facebook Privacy Rules Still Apply To Hashtags

Facebook Privacy for Hashtags

Facebook is famous for its internal battles about user privacy and how to keep everyone safe from themselves and each other. If you start a Facebook hashtag, all of your Facebook privacy rules The (Very) Unofficial Facebook Privacy Guide The (Very) Unofficial Facebook Privacy Guide Time to lock your Facebook settings and private profile information. Facebook doesn't make this easy, however; features are constantly added and the default for each new one seems to favor transparency instead of privacy. Read More apply there too.

That means that if you only allow your friends to see your status updates, then only your friends will see your hashtag. This would explain why so many hashtags seem to go to empty conversations streams. Unlike Twitter, where everything is public, private hashtags may not have as much of a point, and make users question the real purpose of Facebook hashtags.

Could Facebook Hashtags Just Be A Fad?

Critics of Facebook often refer to Facebook hashtags as useless toys that the social media giant has delivered to appease its millions of users. While it is possible to organize conversations utilizing Facebook hashtags, the overbearing limitations of Facebook privacy policies could be rendering hashtags useless. Are Facebook hashtags just a fad, or are they here to stay? Only time will tell.

Do you use hashtags on Facebook, or do you find them redundant?

  1. Sriram S
    January 25, 2014 at 3:49 pm

    Do the posts with links and has a hashtag with no conversation has any SEO benefits?

  2. Andy
    January 25, 2014 at 3:47 pm

    HashTag is the only way to search for your own posts! Until now, there is no way to search for your old posts. But if using Hashtag like #bm you can search for all articles you just posted as a sort of bookmarks.

    • George
      January 31, 2014 at 9:33 pm

      Thanks for your comment Andy!
      How would you go about keeping all of that organized? Do you mean a separate hashtag for each post, or a hashtag that you use to bring up all of your past posts?
      If there is a good use for Facebook hashtags, than I am all for it!

  3. Susi Schuele
    January 25, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    We have been using hashtags on our Facebook business page sporadically but a little more lately. We are starting to add tips each day with #MVPTip so we can build a series of tips for our current and future client base. I agree that it doesn't seem to have a reach right now but believe that as the list of tips grows, it will become a useful tool. As with anything on social media, it takes time to build and relationships are at it's core. I wouldn't give up on them yet - they may be just getting started - just as they did with Twitter.

    • Guy M
      February 1, 2014 at 12:13 am

      I agree. I think this is a good use case for hashtags on Facebook. With businesses or special interest pages, it could/should cultivate useful links, and possibly introduce more people to the business or interest.

      It really has to be about something public. I can see how for private or personal profiles it doesn't make much sense.

  4. Mary Watson
    January 24, 2014 at 11:51 pm

    I find that people who use hashtags do it cause they think they are being cool...they are just a fad and annoying!

  5. Mary Watson
    January 24, 2014 at 11:50 pm

    hashtags are stupid and just a fad...i find that people who use them usually do it to seem cool.

  6. Michele
    January 24, 2014 at 6:33 pm

    I've begun to use them (sparingly) to be able to "curate" similar FB Updates. My husband and I moved recently from a busy suburb to a more-rural area about 50 miles distant. There are aspects of our life that are unique, so I've begun tagging posts dealing with that with #HowWeLiveNow. Well, it's quite maddening to realize that FB does NOT gather the whole "conversation.' I would really like to go back and see all the so-tagged FB Updates.... but can't . All I see are the most recent ones, and that equals exactly TWO (I've been tagging thusly since September '13).

    Lame implementation, AFAIAC. Dare I add that it's a #Facebook #Fail. ;-)

  7. Fik of borg
    January 24, 2014 at 5:59 pm

    They simply don't work for me like I thought they would.
    Since hashtags came out on Facebook I started hashtagging my posts, with hashtags like #MoviesToWatch and #NewBaby, and months later I always get an empty list when I click on them (and I KNOW I have used them) or a list of posts from strangers, and suggestions to check on #bieber or #obama, and I don't even like them.

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