A recent update from Facebook gave us all heed for the weeks to come – there are going to be changes, yet again, and we are once again on the cusp of something big. The social media giant is preparing users, people and brands alike, for the big changes they will be rolling out this summer. There have already been some massive ones this past year – from the two column timeline to the single column integration and chat head (literally the heads of people you chat to on the Facebook messenger) – so we have to really brace ourselves for what comes next.
A Better User Experience
One new addition to the Facebook features we saw last week were the Facebook hashtags – yes, Facebook has finally thrown the towel in and given users the ability to use hashtags in their posts, just like other social networks including Twitter (the original), Google+, Pinterest and Tumblr.. While the introduction has come late, hashatgs are here to stay and make life much easier for the 1 billion + users on Facebook.
This new feature ties in perfectly with the Graph Search option on the network. The one thing that users must keep in mind is their privacy and how they would like their updates to appear in search results. For example, when you write a new status update on Facebook, you can include # in front of specific words to make it searchable by other users. You still have the control of who you share your update with – so always be careful to share it with people you want it to be seen by. If you are comfortable with your posts being found easily, then go for the ‘public’ sharing option – but if you’re anything like me, you’ll opt for ‘only friends’ or specific lists of people.
Facebook is by far the largest social network on the planet, and it is only getting bigger and better every year. And why wouldn’t it? It is an amazing way to connect with almost everyone you know, as well as network your way in the world as it is used by 1 billion users!
What Does this Mean for You?
As a blogger or business page, the hashtag is only good news. You posts will be found by users much easily – just like Twitter. If you are a bookshop that regularly posts book reviews, offers and the latest in the industry, accompanying updates with relevant hashtags such as #book #offers #literature will only help your updates being found by users searching for these topics.
The best thing is, the hashtags are clickable. So if you read a post about the #ICCcricket and want to know what others are saying, simply click on the hashtag and you will be taken to search results featuring all those shared with the public as well as updates by your friends. It makes connecting with people much easier in real time – a feature that Facebook lacks on their Home feed as it is sorted according to “Top Stories” by default. The ticker on the top right was one of the ‘real time’ feature on Facebook, however it is hardly of use since it doesn’t appear on the Facebook app. The introduction of the hashtag on Facebook is of great importance, since the majority of social network users are already familiar with the concept.
A Time to Review
My advice for people using the hashtag on Facebook is simple: go through your friends list and review your privacy settings, once again. It is good to make a habit out of it whenever a new feature rolls out on the social network because it helps protect your information and gives you a good overview of who sees what. So take 30-45 minutes today to sit down and check out your lists on Facebook, and always make sure you know who you are sharing what with – after all, it is a social platform and once the data is out there, there is no going back.