So Facebook finally gave in and incorporated hashtags into status updates this week. You now can use hashtags to include your posts with other similar posts from people all over the world. For instance, if you’re writing something about recovering from the Spurs/Heat NBA Finals, you could include #NBAFinals
in your status update. That way, depending on your privacy settings, your post will be easier to find for other people also talking about the NBA Finals. Likewise, you can click on the hashtag to theoretically see what other people are saying about the Spurs and Heat.
Using our #NBAFinals example, I searched that hashtag this morning. It’s full of brands posting about the NBA Finals. This is where privacy settings come into play. Brands post publicly – meaning their posts can be seen by everyone. You, however, probably don’t post that way. Facebook says it will honor your privacy settings even if you include a hashtag in your post. If you don’t want others (outside of your friends or friends of friends) to see your post, make sure you're only posting to your desired group. If the setting is set to public, your posts are visible to everyone, and therefore your post with a hashtag will be visible to anyone searching that hashtag. As with any major Facebook change, it’s a good reminder to check your default settings.
It’s still up in the air whether people will correctly use hashtags on Facebook. To be quite honest, you don’t see many people correctly using them on Twitter. As you’ve probably noticed, many users treat hashtags as a rim shot of sorts to punctuate tweets with stuff like #SorryNotSorry and #LOL.
Spammers have also quickly adjusted to the hashtag, as you’d expect.
At the very least, you won’t have to deal with users complaining about people using hashtags on Facebook anymore.