Since most people fell in love with Twitter, hashtags have been all over the place! Not that many people realize that using hashtags #likethis on Facebook meant squat up to now (outside the fashion statement); for some time the trend seems to have caught on fast. Everyone was doing #this already, with or without Facebook’s support. Well, mainly because it looks cool, neat and it made statuses look cool. Well, today, Facebook announced that it will now support (officially) the use of hashtags on it’s social network for content grouping purposes.
What does this mean? Well, just like on Twitter, content containing the identical #hashtags will be grouped into one big pot for public consumption in any wide searches performed using stated keywords. Not that it’s exactly going to feed into hashtags which are uncommon such as #LateForCheckup (as what users were used to), but commonly shared hashtags such as #ZimElections2013 for the forthcoming elections will mean anyone who searches using that keyword will access information tagged with that hashtag.
From the Facebook blog itself, hashtag support will allow for three things. Firstly, it will allow for the searching for a specific hashtag from the search bar. For example, #ZimElections2013. It will also allow for the composition of posts directly from the hashtag feed and search results and lastly, it will enable users to click on hashtags that originate from other services. So instead of the plain text content coming when a tweet was sent to Facebook feed for instance, now the services can be better linked to direct to richer content on other services such as Twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr – all through these hashtags.
To answer your question, yes, this is now Fwitter. If Twitter were Apple, a lawsuit would have been brewing five minutes after that blog post. But, as it comes to show, hashtags are not the first idea Facebook borrowed from its rival – not too far back the social network even changed it’s ‘subscriber’ button to emulate ‘followers’ on Twitter.
Copied or not, however, this new functionality has some elements to look forward to. It’s bound to open some new dimension in social networking.