A few months back all the kids were chatting on the Internets about how like, Facebook wanted to be a lot more like Twitter? And like, the best way to do that might be to use those hashtag thingies? Those rumors turned out to be true, as the #SocialNetwork is rolling along with the tide of progress and learning to use hashtags.
In a blog post today, Facebook product manager Greg Lindley outlines the new system, saying it’ll start rolling out today and continue on through the next few weeks. For anyone already familiar with using hashtags on Twitter, it sounds like it’ll work a lot like that — as a way to connect topics people are talking about.
Similar to other services like Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, or Pinterest, hashtags on Facebook allow you to add context to a post or indicate that it is part of a larger discussion. When you click on a hashtag in Facebook, you’ll see a feed of what other people and Pages are saying about that event or topic.
We’re gonna go ahead and say that by using the word “similar” to other social networks, what Facebook really means is that it’ll be exactly like hashtags on other social networks.
For those worried about their privacy — What if someone searches for #sad and finds my status update about the day Fluffy died and I ate an entire bag of Cool Ranch Doritos dipped in actual ranch dressing? — hashtags will live by the rules already set out in users’ privacy settings.
So if you already have posts that are only set to be visible to your friends, inserting a hashtag won’t change that.
It’ll be interesting to see, as we pondered earlier, whether or not Facebook will try to take this hashtaggery to the next step and incorporate it into advertising. Money is king, especially on a “free” service.