I think it definitely is…and something long overdue.
For those of you who aren’t aware, Facebook has now enabled the use of hashtags. This use of hashtags follows Twitter (of course) and now Pinterest. Not sure what hashtags are? Here's a post I wrote on Hashtags and Twitter.
There is one major difference in hashtag usage on Facebook. On Twitter, the default setting for every tweet is it’s public, unless privacy is enabled. On Facebook, the opposite is true. Everything is private unless public viewing is enabled.
This doesn’t make hashtags less valuable to writers on Facebook. It’s just something we need to know.
Today I want to acquaint you with how to search for hashtags on Facebook and the advantages in using them.
Searching Facebook Hashtags
This couldn’t be easier. Since the new timeline and graph search feature, just type the hashtag you want to find into the search window. For instance, I typed in #Amwriting and this is what came up.
|This is what showed up when I typed #Amwriting in the search box on my personal profile.|
When I click on the first option #AmWriting, this is what shows up in my feed.
|This is what showed up in my timeline when I clicked on the first option after typing #Amwriting into the search box.|
Advantages in Using Facebook Hashtags
- As you saw from my search, it’s possible to find which of your friends have tagged posts with a specific hashtag and this can help you focus which updates you read. Of course, by tagging a post with a hashtag you enable others to do the same with your posts—a major advantage if you have several different audiences you try to reach through this platform.
- Using Facebook hashtags AND choosing to make your specific update PUBLIC can allow people you aren’t connected with to find you.
NOTE: To make a post public, click on the dropdown menu when you compose an update. I’m including a screenshot below to show you exactly where to find the menu. I’ve gotten in the habit of making all my posts public, since so many of my friends are also business acquaintances.
|This is where you control whether your posts are public, private or something in between.|
- Many of us utilize an ancillary program to schedule social media. I prefer Hootsuite, but there are several others that also work well. Because of this, I often post the exact same update to Facebook and Twitter. Now, this makes even more sense.
The Downside of Facebook Hashtags
There are really only two, and they’re not very strong.
- The first is the fact I mentioned above. Facebook has a culture of privacy, so our audience (readers) will have to be educated to share certain posts publicly to get all the conversational benefits of following a hashtag. It’s hard to have a group conversation when no one wants to share what they say to everyone in the room.
- The second is one that I’m glad the Facebook creators have instigated. The only time a hashtag will show up in a search is if the original comment contained the hashtag. If the hashtag is in a comment, it won’t show up. The reason behind this is to keep our private conversations from being hijacked through commenters.
All in all, I’m VERY pleased to see Facebook allowing the use of hashtags. Now I’d like to know what you think. Have you tried any hashtag searches on Facebook? Do you use hashtags in your Facebook updates already?
Don’t forget to join the conversation!