“But hashtags are for Twitter.”
That’s the general reaction that most Facebook users have after finding out that Facebook has implemented a hashtag system within its site. The tagging system allows users to post hashtags throughout posts and comments on the site. These hashtags become hyperlinks that connect to a stream of content that shows what other people are saying about the same topic. The feature, copied from Twitter‘s use of the hashtag, is meant to be a way to organize information on a page.
Many argue that the purpose of Facebook isn’t to browse content, but rather keep in touch with friends.
Syracuse alumna Catherine Schur says she doesn’t understand why Facebook needs hashtags. “Twitter uses them to categorize content but I don’t want my content categorized on Facebook.” Catherine’s right. Facebook isn’t about looking up what strangers are saying about mundane things, it’s about connecting with friends you currently have about social topics.
Realizing that this trend probably wasn’t going to be received well by the Facebook community, I poked fun at the new system by making a status update early Friday night, stating, “#weekend #lookhowcooliam #hashtag #avocados.”
Syracuse alum Daniel Reichert then commented,”I always trust that you’ll be the one to abuse…err…test…all the new features on Facebook.” Daniel is right, I’m abusing the system. Because Facebook has become a place I can dump silly status updates as well as pictures from nights out with my friends, the value of finding useful information in Facebook is non-existent. Thus, posting irrelevant statuses with arbitrary hashtags is my way to joke about Facebook’s efforts.
However, I’m not the only one who realizes that hashtagging Facebook is going to make it a nightmare. Syracuse alumna Alyssa McKinley tweeted out, “Thank GOD people can now hashtag their selfies 800x on facebook too,” as a reference to people over-hashtagging Instagram photos to get more likes and comments. Instagram certainly has users who posts lines of hashtags (both relevant and irrelevant) to their photos to get likes. Facebook, now introducing this system, can quickly fall into the same trap.
Now that Facebook has also added verified pages (a blue check mark that confirms a celebrity’s account is authentic), it’s becoming more and more apparent that Facebook is taking advantage of Twitter’s successful features.
Whether Facebook realizes that its relevance is slowly decreasing, or the company thinks that adding hashtags will add value to its site, I doubt it’s going to work. Facebook and Twitter are independent social networking sites with different purposes. Both sites are successful because they have features that best compliment the goals of their sites. Perhaps Facebook’s vision is changing, but these features and constant redesigns aren’t pleasing users. Hashtags are for Twitter, and they should stay there.
What do you think of Facebook’s use of the hashtag? Share in the comments below!