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Would hashtags improve Facebook?

2 min read


SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Social Media — tracks feedback from leading marketers about social media practices and issues.

This week, we asked: Are you in favor of hashtags coming to Facebook?

  • No: 53.33%
  • Yes: 46.67%

Facebook says it is working on bringing a hashtaglike feature to the network. But a majority of SmartBrief on Social Media readers say they’re not convinced the change would be for the better. Are they right?

Hashtags are widespread, with 3 in 4 social media users saying they take advantage of them. Hashtags are a great organizing principle. They make it possible for users to come together to discuss a topic, even it they’re not already friends. This is probably the easiest way for Facebook to solve its user-discovery problem without it feeling horribly contrived. If users are given the ability to track or hide certain hashtags, it will only help users further tailor their experience.

So I suspect that the objection isn’t to hashtags themselves, but to the possibility that marketers will use the feature in ways that detract from the overall Facebook experience. To that end, the feature is potential minefield for marketers, as over-exuberant use of the new tool could alienate fans who are already annoyed with how many different ways brands are reaching out to them.

So are Facebook hashtags a positive? I think so, but it behooves brands to step lightly as they navigate the feature.