Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Hashtag (#) And Why It Makes No Sense On Facebook

This past weekend I was asked by a social media newbie what this # thing was about on facebook. It was difficult to explain that the hashtag (#) had no place in facebook and this made me realize how much work it would take to get people to start using the hashtag correctly... even if misplaced or against hashtag etiquette. As much as it might come off oversimplified, this is how I succeeded in getting my point across and that's how I'll document it.

My "Hashtag for Newbies" explanation went like so:
Say Juju wants to search or keep track of what is said on Twitter about his favorite grocery store, #PickNPayMidrand. He can go on Twitter and search for past posts by Twitter users and also keep track of new Twitter posts with the word #PickNPayMidrand in them. The hashtag (#) helps to categorize these Twitter posts and therefore makes it easier for Juju to get through his search results. This also happens in real-time. For example, a Twitter update by Lerato saying "Just met a hunk called Peter at #PickNPayMidrand" would popup in Juju's search window just after Lerato posts it.

Another example that is commonly practiced by people who use Twitter for simply its socializing aspect and gaining popularity is "The hashtag of the day". Someone may post a Tweet as follows "#MyMotherUsedToSay never misuse a hashtag"; a hundred other people may pick up on that and post tweets with "#MyMotherUsedToSay…". That would then be the hashtag of the day, and a number of imbeciles would follow suit and suck the humor out of it...

Facebook does not have this functionality/feature and therefore the hashtag has no place in a facebook status update. In the forgivable case, the hashtag finds its way on facebook because some people have their Twitter updates (or Tweets in Twitter lingo) linked to their facebook status updates.

There are many other uses for the hashtag and a lot more technicalities that go into it. All of that has been documented on the internet by various authors and is beyond the scope of this post. I can send you a couple of links at request.

Back On The Grind

I'm going to publish a couple of posts on this blog because my non-techie website is currently down and I'm not sure when it will be back up. Please forgive me for going less technical here... Happy New Year and may the Universe be with you through 2011!