Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Facebook/Twitter War Continues!

Or, shall I say, #TheWarContinues
The Twitter vs. Facebook war- that heated up at the end of last year with the Instagram debacle - is still raging.
The latest line of defense to be violated may be Twitter's infamous icon, the hashtag.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that Facebook is working on fully incorporating the hashtag into the site. 

First reading this, I was unimpressed.  So what!? People already post tweets to Facebook and replicate the hashtag in their status updates, right?  Why does this matter?

But think about it, Facebook doesn't really DO anything with the hashtags that end up on the site. They are just there as a leftover from a tweet or a byproduct of an automated service that lets users update statuses and tweets simultaneously. Now, it looks like Facebook is realizing the goldmine that these leftover hashtags could create.  According to the article, the hashtags will soon be used as a way to group conversations within Facebook.  So, similar to Twitter's current hashtag capabilities, you will soon be able to click on a Facebook hashtag and pull up all posts about similar topics or events.  The hashtag also will serve as an index to conversations around trending topics.  Note that this could ALSO allow Facebook to better develop user conversations about those topics, increasing the chances for advertising on the topic's main pages.  And of course Facebook is under enormous pressure from Wall Street to increase its revenue streams.  

I'm still not sure if this seems like a breakthrough plan.  Facebook already groups conversations and has pages devoted to just about everything.  But it definitely shows the turf wars going on between the two social media giants.

What do you think, are #hashtags really valuable to Facebook? 

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