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#Hashtags come to Facebook – the “Air quote” of the Internet Age gets its big break

I distinctly remember a high school vocabulary dripping with the word ‘like’ – a habit that’s taken a lifetime (a short lifetime) to undo. Then there was ‘Quote, unquote’ and the ridiculous air quoting phenomenon that also took time to pry out of my daily gestures. Similarly, Twitter has made incessant hashtagging an online obsession in and outside of its own domain and now Facebook, the biggest social media network, has buckled under the pressure of the almighty hashtag.

In a statement that sounds almost confessional and vaguely apologetic, Greg Lindley, Facebook Product Manager said “To date, there has not been a simple way to see the larger view of what’s happening or what people are talking about.” That much is true. Adding emphasis to a topic, increasing online search-ability and keeping communication current and on-trend was the motivation for tagging subject headers, however much the phenomenon has been over and wrongly used.

Facebook joins other services, most notably Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, and Pinterest in the Hashtag brigade, allowing users to reference trending topics and make a point of globally popular subject matter.Of course the annoying thing about the Hashtag is that many are using it, much like the iconic air quote, to inflate a near insignificant subject. Over stuffing hashtags, tagging personal rather than popular trending subjects and making mundane proclamations that scarcely need airing, let alone hashtagging are some of the gripes about the popular means of expression.

Well, how it’s used can’t be controlled but from Facebook’s point of view,  the move allows users to ‘search the service based on hashtags or click on a hashtag to get a list of posts people have put in the category’ according to Timeslive.co.za. Contextualisation is the motive but along with the helpful  online experience comes a lot of #this #type of #thing.

 

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