Today’s news from Facebook is yet another indictor that the hashtag has become the universal currency for organizing conversations in social media.
And it’s no surprise that in its announcement of hashtag support, Facebook started off with stats about television. “During primetime television alone, there are between 88 and 100 million Americans engaged on Facebook - roughly a Super Bowl-sized audience every single night.” Facebook wants a bigger piece of the real-time social TV audience.
The announcement’s title alone “Public Conversations on Facebook” signals the platform’s movement toward more real-time and open posts organized by hashtags. Sound familiar? This is the very essence of what Twitter is, how it works, and the value that it brings to its users every day.
While they’ll be rolling out to users over the next few weeks, Facebook hashtags only (currently) work on its desktop platform (so much for its “mobile first” strategy) and at the moment advertisers can’t target or promote hashtags nor are they being tracked by Facebook Insights. While I’m sure this will quickly change, the question remains whether or not the Facebook community wants a platform that is feeling more and more like Twitter.
At the same time, if Facebook weren’t to move in this direction, they would be ignoring a huge opportunity to continue to grow and monetize its platform with all of the data each and everyone of us produces as we post.