Facebook’s hashtags are a good thing

Posted & filed under Social Media.

fbhashtagYou probably read or noticed that Facebook recently went the Twitter route and implemented hashtags into posts. I didn’t think this was earth-shattering (or bad) news, but then we got Michael Thomsen ranting that hashtags will ruin Facebook. My advice to Mr. Thomsen – slow down, hoss. Facebook’s hashtags are a good thing.

First, hashtags aren’t ruining anything. It’s going to take a lot more than a little “#” in a post to bring down or hinder the usability of a platform used by more than a billion people. Hashtags simply allow Facebook users to connect and share specific content. What’s wrong with that?

Thomsen contends, “Communicating with a hashtag is an immediate signal of disingenuousness, a sign that the foregoing statement has a hidden subtext.”

I disagree. If I post something on my page about the great baseball game I watched last night and hashtag the winning team’s name, how is that disingenuous? What is the hidden subtext there? The hashtag allows me to invite those with similar interests to join me in a discussion about that team or game.

It seems Thomsen’s reference to a “hidden subtext” alludes to a level of initial distrust of those using Facebook (or social media as a whole), regardless of hashtag use. Is his distrust with businesses or advertisers who use hashtags on Facebook? To that, I would argue that most businesses communicating on the platform, or those that want to keep its followers engaged, will use them appropriately. People don’t like spam, and spammers tend to get unfollowed.

Thomsen writes, “Like many of Facebook’s recent additions, the move demonstrates a gradual abandonment of its strength.” I think the opposite is true. Facebook’s strength is that it’s a social media platform. It brings people together. Heck, I didn’t go to my 20-year high school reunion because I already knew everything I wanted to know about my old classmates! Facebook is about sharing and galvanizing communities of those with similar interests. Hashtags make that a little easier.

So, no, Mr. Thomsen, hashtags aren’t going to ruin Facebook. Now, that stock price on the other hand …


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