A few months ago, we heard rumors that Facebook was really close to rolling out hashtags. Although it didn't happen as quickly as reports suggested, it's finally here. Today, Facebook is rolling out clickable hashtags to all users.
"Starting today, hashtags will be clickable on Facebook. Similar to other services like Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, or Pinterest, hashtags on Facebook allow you to add context to a post or indicate that it is part of a larger discussion. When you click on a hashtag in Facebook, you'll see a feed of what other people and Pages are saying about that event or topic," says Facebook's Greg Lindley.
Not only will you be able to add a hashtag to any of your posts, but you'll be able to search any hashtag in the search bar. You'll also be able to click on any hashtag - that means ones that originated on other services, like Instagram.
If you're worried about privacy (which most people are when it comes to Facebook, let's face it), Facebook ensures that you'll be able to control the audience of your posts - attaching a hashtag won't just make your posts public.
Hashtags are actually a part of a bigger initiative, according to Facebook. They're calling them "public conversations." Facebook says that hashtags are just the beginning of a plan to "bring these conversations more to the forefront."
In the upcoming weeks and months you can expect to see more features in this vein, including trending hashtags and what Facebook calls "deeper insights."
"We will be rolling out a series of features that surface some of the interesting discussions people are having about public events, people, and topics," says Lindley.
With hashtags, Facebook finally took a concept popularized by Twitter, proliferated by a handful of other networks, and run into the ground by most social media users. If you're a hashtag hater - you may as well call it quits on Facebook. These things are going to be everywhere. Especially when marketers figure out what they're working with.