Since Facebook users are always uniformly delighted every time the social network suddenly reveals big changes to its platform, Mark Zuckerberg and Co. have decided to bestow users with the ability to hashtag their status updates.
The Twitter-like feature hasn't rolled out for everybody quite yet. But starting today when you post something new to your timeline, you'll be able to tag it with a clickable "#" like you already can on Twitter or Instagram. For example:
According to a Facebook blog post, soon users will be able to….
• Search for a specific hashtag from the search bar.
• Click on hashtags that originate on other services, such as Instagram.
• Compose posts directly from the hashtag feed and search results.
Facebook, let's remember, has been doggedly trying to shed its reputation as a dusty place where your weird relatives hang out, particularly with teens flocking to more linear services like Snapchat or Instagram (which use hashtags). Even Google+ beat Facebook to the punch.
Hashtags also help facilitate searchable conversations that are at least semi-topical; and conversations hold currency since they keep users trapped in a time-sucking rabbit hole. That's at least partly why Twitter is the global town hall for gleaning what digitally savvy people are talking about — #RIPSteveJobs, #NSA, #RedWedding, etc.
It probably isn't worth getting too worked up by the inevitable #hashtagization of Facebook. Sure, there's the possibility that it'll heap another spoonful of stupid, distracting noise into your feed. But it's just another tool — like most things social, you don't have to use it if you don't want to.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Russia is stealthily threatening America with nuclear war
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- The science of sex: 4 harsh truths about dating and mating
- 13 Urban Outfitters controversies
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Is 'feminism' just another word for 'liberalism'?
- What political elites don't understand about Scotland's push for independence
- The U.S. dollar has been strengthening for 3 straight years! (That's not good news.)
- Why gay people of color are still losing
- Obama knows he can't really 'defeat' ISIS. Americans need to wake up to that reality, too.
Subscribe to the Week