Using #hashtags on Facebook

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Welcome to the first edition of the West River Eagle’s blog and column, “Nerd on the Range,” coming to you every Monday on our website answering your questions through West River Eagle’s social media sites. Published weekly on Monday’s on www.westrivereagle.com and subsequently printed in the newspaper, too. Find us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter and YouTube.

Q: What’s up with the use of # on Facebook now?

A: Congratulations! Facebook just made more changes. You know, because they rarely change stuff. #yeahright

Facebook just added guts to the use of #hashtags. Hashtags allow you to see what other posts are using that same hashtag–whether you’re connected to the people or entities posting them, or not.

Twitter popularized hashtags as a way of organizing conversations on Twitter between users that had no other connections.

The use of the pound symbol and a phrase or term to lasso posts about similar topics and corral them into a window showing only posts with that exact hashtag is probably the most redeeming thing Twitter has to offer. As an on-again, off-again Twitter user, I have long thought hashtags were awesome, even if I’m not a huge fan of Twitter in general.

I have long defended the use of hashtags on Facebook as a way of adding meaning and tone to someone’s posts. Some people would like to slam the use of hashtags on Facebook, since they point out, they didn’t actually do anything. At least from a technical viewpoint. No clickability before. However, I have believed that they still added to a post, like a smiley face could, only less corny. Hashtags often denote humor or exasperation with a given situation, like #firstworldproblems for people whining about a cold latte when there are people starving in Africa or #ilovetechnology when you want to complain about your computer’s latest hiccup.

By clicking that hashtag, Facebook will find the posts of everyone else using that same exact hashtag and allow you to have a moving conversation with friends and strangers. Hashtags are usually subjects, events or trends.

See below for a great infographic for you visual learners out there done by a professional social media guru that I first met through Google+.

Hashtag Golden Rules - Socialize Me