If you enjoy a Twitter or Instagram account, you’re most likely to have used something like this at at least come across a lot of them while browsing. Hashtags are used on Twitter so archives could be made and so information could be pooled together more easily. It was originally used to collate on certain favorite or what we now call “trending” topics. What makes it unique is the pound sign (#).
Eventually, hashtags became an everyday thing, making popular culture and newsflashes even more accessible to everybody. Charlie Sheen’s 2011 feud against his “Two and a Half Men” bosses made it to Twitter’s trending topics as “#winning”; the new Pope has his very own “#PopeFrancis”; well-liked CW series The Vampire Diaries made the news with “#ElenaKissedDamon”; and old school photos are instagrammed/twitpic-ed with the hashtag “#throwbackthursday”. News about faraway countries are easily brought to worldwide attention thanks to Twitter users, using the site for real-time broadcasting like when “#KONY2012” came to light. It has also become a form of creative expression, believe it or not.
Aside from being shorthand for creative expression and feelings, hashtags now serve a bigger purpose. Multinational companies have since then discovered the magic of hashtags, using them to promote new products, campaign, raise funds, and the like. Coca Cola and General Electric have joined the bandwagon, and even Axe’s Apollo project, “#AxeApollo” where a winner gets to play astronaut in outer space. Half of the TV commercials aired during Super Bowl incorporated hashtags, like Paramount Farms Inc. and its pistachios using “#CrackinStyle” with Gangnam Style singer Psy in the background.
Since Twitter’s hashtags have been making it so big these days, guess who’s decided to join in on the fun? Who else but Mark Zuckerberg and his bajillion-dollar Facebook empire. Facebook has become Twitter’s rival ever since its emerging popularity began, with celebrities and politicians verifying their own accounts, even the Pope has his own (@Pontifex). Both remain to be two of the top tabs automatically open in the average internet user’s browser.
Twitter’s iconic symbol has just been taken into consideration by Zuckerberg and his team so Facebook can also utilize its group conversation and indexing feature. Trending topics have become the 21st century’s 5-second news alert and Facebook intends to use hashtags to build user conversations, gather more users and make them see more advertisements.
If Tumblr, Instagram, Facebook have all joined the #hashtag party, who else is missing?
Well, happy days are here again for photography enthusiasts because Flickr has already made some serious changes in its newly-updated iOS application through some hashtagging, @mentions and easy-to-use retro-vintage filters (just like Twitter who just did the same recently for its photo-posting feature).
Although there have been no pound signs in the Flickr website, it appears to be that Flickr has just added in the signature Twitter marker for style. Flickr users should be happy to know that hashtags can now be used for the regular “Flickr Friday” competition which happens, well, every Friday. Just add “#flickrfriday” to the photos you wish to be included. Your photos can now be shared to several social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr more easily.
If you want to join the #hashtagparty, make sure to update your Flickr app to the latest version via the App Store.