There’s no doubt that Facebook launching hashtags is a big thing, especially for marketers, but I think for users too. Now you can add a simple keyword prefaced by a pound sign (#) to any post or comment and immediately let others click and see the entire conversation around that particular keyword. This is really what defined Twitter – it was the ability to have organized conversations through hashtags that made Twitter a breeding ground for conversation.
Now Facebook launches hashtags, bringing the same breeding ground for larger conversations to a massive, billion+ active user network and now you’ve got a serious conversation on your hands. To me, this makes Facebook 10 times more valuable than Twitter in terms of the larger conversation, and it really makes me wonder – will people have as much motivation to use Twitter as they get used to hashtags on Facebook?
On Twitter I know of many that use hashtags to start large conversations and bring attention to a particular topic. Occasionally these conversations trend and other users chime in. While Facebook doesn’t yet have trending terms, they are rumored to be launching those soon. What happens when these larger conversations move over to Facebook where a majority of the “local” conversations are happening? Will people have reason to use Twitter any more? If I were Twitter I’d be worried when both Facebook and Google (through Google+) are offering this feature. Twitter’s competition is just too big.
Add to hashtags the other features Facebook provides, namely:
- Privacy controls
- Rich, embedded images
- The inclusion of your closest family and friends in the conversation (that may be a plus or minus)
- Threaded comments
- No character limit