Yesterday Facebook announced that they were finally launching the support of hashtags, a format currently supported on Twitter and Google+. This means any time you include a pound sign (#) followed by a keyword of any sort (try #throughglass for a fun view), it will turn into a link in your Facebook status update or Page post and people can click on it to view all public statuses and statuses they have permission to see on Facebook with that hashtag. There’s a shortcut to view these streams of public conversation though. To see the stream of any hashtag, just put https://www.facebook.com/hashtag/ followed by the keyword you want to follow in the URL bar of your browser.
Try https://www.facebook.com/hashtag/throughglass or https://www.facebook.com/hashtag/fail for a few fun examples of this. Facebook has made access to the public streams for hashtags extraordinarily simple.
I’ve heard from quite a few that hashtag streams only appear in a popover on your Facebook stream. It is true that when you click on a hashtag in your stream it does this – that’s so you don’t have to leave your existing stream to see what any given individual is saying on a topic. However, Facebook has also allowed you to right-click on the link for a hashtag, copy the URL, and paste it into your browser’s URL window and view the stream in a full feed on Facebook.
This now makes me wonder – are we close to an API for developers on this feature? If Facebook is already providing a UI around a single page, supported by a single URL for each hashtag, it would seem it would be extremely simple for them to put all that in JSON format for developers to access and start to consume in their apps. I’ve tried seeing if Graph API might support this by turning https://www.facebook.com/hashtag/throughglass into https://graph.facebook.com/hashtag/throughglass but it returns an error. It would also make a lot of sense as part of their search API, however, trying https://graph.facebook.com/search?q=throughglass&type=hashtag also doesn’t work.
I imagine it’s just a matter of time for an API to come out as a result of this. In the meantime, try out the URL method I shared above and see what streams you can follow. Which streams are your favorites?