“Why is there a number sign before all these highlighted words?” my husband asked me this week as he checked out my latest tweets on Twitter.
Even my college-aged son, who’d been creating his own off-the-wall Twitter hashtags for weeks, didn’t realize that hashtags are links to a common page where all other hashtags like it can be followed.
The Demise of Hashtag Ignorance
This obliviousness is about to change. The goliath of social media, Facebook, is stomping into your Timeline, hashtags in hand.
No longer will you be able to avoid it, much to the distress of hashtag-bashing opponents. Facebook page “This is Not Twitter. Hashtags Don’t Work Here” recently hit 10,000 fans, with the cause “If you can’t click it, it’s not real.”
Reality is about to change. With hashtags working on Facebook, will users take to it like they do on Twitter? We can be sure of one thing. Facebook’s hashtag invasion will assure more people understand it’s use.
And You Thought Hashtag was a Weird Name
Hashtag has a unique history in the name “octothorpe.” It seems that Bell Laboratories’ scientists made up the name for the newly added key with the eight-pointed edges symbol, what we commonly call the pound key, made to send instructions to the operator.
Today the hashtag continues to send instructions in the form of common topics, conversation beginnings, and search options.
Hashtags are used on Twitter as keywords or phrases (with no spaces) preceded by a hash mark (#) to identify a topic of interest, create and facilitate a search, and categorize Tweets.
Hashtag Envy Breeds Copycats
A good thing begs to be imitated. Whereas Twitter refuses to buddy up with Facebook-owned, hashtag-using Instagram, its new photo-flame, Flickr, has just introduced an IOS app using – you guessed it – hashtags.
It doesn’t stop there.
Google+ has adopted the hashtag, listing its Trending Topics with hashtag-laden keywords, promoting awareness on topics such as #DownSyndrome and #WorldWaterDay.
As of now, hashtags don’t have functionality on Facebook or Pinterest, although people add them to status updates and pin descriptions, much to the annoyance of those who understand how they work.
Once Facebook incorporates the hashtag function, it will be similar to tagging for people and location with the @ symbol. With the # symbol, anyone who wants their posts easily searched and categorized can create public posts based on specific keywords.
Hashtag is Still a Weird Name
There are those out there, undoubtedly from Twitterland, who are born and bred on hashtags. A baby girl recently named Hashtag marks the level of social media preoccupation some of us share.
France is not immune to the hashtag infiltration, although they’ve banned the use of the word. Instead, social media followers must use the French term for “sharp word.”
What else is there to do but accept the pointed-edge invasion and follow the hashtag links? Is our social media destiny to be a clamoring for hashtag acknowledgement and authority?
What about you? Are you a hashtag supporter?