Our intern Katie weighs in on the addition of hashtags to Facebook.

Rumors about the possibility that the major social media site Facebook would add hashtags have flown since March, but as of last week Facebook has finally added clickable hashtags.

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According to #Mashable, Facebook will let a set number of users try the feature starting on Wednesday, but more users will be added to the mix in the coming weeks.

Why the hashtag, though?

Hashtags began on #Twitter, after the open source advocate Chris Messina invented them (he has since been dubbed the ‘#godfather’ of the hashtag). They are a topic organization system in which users can add the ‘#’ character before a keyword in order to make it clickable and internally searchable. According to The Atlantic, Messina wanted to have a “better eavesdropping experience on Twitter.”  It’s all about creating and contextualizing virtual conversations.

Messina

Hashtags aren’t just useful to the casual social media user.  Advertisers and companies are finding them increasingly helpful in coordinating digital campaigns.  For example, this past Sunday, for Father’s Day, Heineken launched a #dadjokes campaign centered around the corny but lovable “dad joke.” According to AdWeek, people can submit their corniest dad joke on Twitter to @Heineken_US and the beer brewer will “meme-ify” the joke by superimposing it on a stock photo of a dad from the past.  Heineken will also add their own #dadjokes and archive all of them on Tumblr.  It’s looking like the addition of hashtags to Facebook will only add to these kinds of campaigns’ potential.

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So what are Facebook’s #plans?

The hashtags appear to function exactly like they do on Twitter.  This will make crossover posts from #Instagram, #Vine, and #Twitter much less messy and awkward.  What do you think?  Will hashtags work well for #Facebook or will they clutter your Newsfeed?  Let us know in the comments section!

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