#Unnecessary #Facebook #Hashtags: Or, How to Keep Your Friends & Not Annoy the Internet

Last week, Facebook announced that they would officially be supporting hashtags — a feature that had been speculated about for quite some time. With hashtags being a longtime staple of Twitter and Instagram, it was really only a matter of time before Facebook hopped on the hashtag bandwagon.

While we’re excited about the opportunities hashtag integration will hopefully provide Facebook users (particularly brands), there is still some hesitation about what some might call “hashtag abuse.”

The History of Hashtags

Hashtags were first created by Twitter as a way to easily aggregate and track topics of interest to users.

Curious to see what other people are saying about the latest current event or celebrity gossip? Thousands of (probably unnecessary) opinions on Kanye and Kim’s baby are just a quick search away. Interested in keeping up with the best bands at this years’ Lollapalooza Music Festival? There’s a hashtag for that.

Hashtags Today

Over the years, however, hashtags have somewhat evolved and no longer serve a strictly informational purpose. Below are the three broad categories of hashtags you’ll probably see on Twitter, Instagram and other social sites today.

1. The Original Hashtag. This hashtag is used as it was intended to be used.

Example: @johnsmith First day of #Lollapalooza! Excited for today’s lineup.

2. The Side Comment Hashtag. This hashtag is used for humor’s sake, often serving as sarcastic commentary on a standalone tweet.

Example: @joeshmoe It’s only 8:45. I just spilled my coffee. #canigetaredo #TGIF

3. The Spammy Hashtag. This hashtag is used for the sole purpose of getting likes or traffic. Most commonly used by 14-year-old girls and your typical spambot.  

Example: @janedoe Out on the town!!!! #selfie #selfiesaturday #blonde #cute #girl #girlsnightout #funtimes #summer #memories #likemyinstagrampleasepleaseplease

Facebook Hashtags & Our PSA to You

Let’s be honest — certain hashtagged tweets are just cringeworthy. And that’s just within Twitter’s limit of 140 characters. The character limit for Facebook posts? 63,206.

Yes, you read that correctly.

There is a whole world of hashtag overload possibilities on Facebook, and it’s still too early to decide if hashtag support will be a positive change or not. As this feature evolves, we hope to continue to keep the original intention of Facebook hashtags in mind — creating an outlet for public discussion around topics that people care about.

So here’s our plea to you: For the love of everything that is good and right in the world, please refrain from ridiculous, unnecessary hashtag usage.

We’re all for creativity, but keep it reasonable. No one wants to see a picture of your beach trip tagged with #beach #vacation #summer #sand #sunshine #relaxing #thisisthelife. We’re jealous you’re enjoying a margarita by the pool while we’re working the daily grind in our office cubicles anyway. No need to make things worse.

Future Speculations

It will be interesting to see if Facebook eventually rolls out the capability to search for hashtagged posts by friends only — this could be a fantastic use of the still-adapting Facebook Graph Search tool. Others are speculating about an improvement to Facebook Notes integrating hashtags, which could create a Tumblr-like user experience. The possibilities really are endless.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on Facebook hashtags or see an example of the worst hashtagged post you’ve ever come across. Started using Facebook hashtags yet? Don’t plan to? Share in the comments below!