Your nonsensical hashtagged status updates on Facebook will now, at last, have some meaning. The social network on Wednesday said hashtags will now be clickable and searchable, like they are on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and, well, basically every other social network.
Now hashtags cross-posted from other social networks like Twitter and Instagram will be clickable within Facebook. You can search for a hashtag in the search bar if you want to participate in a larger conversation--like when "Game of Thrones" is airing or a political scandal erupts. When you search for a hashtag, like #GoT, you can write a post directly in the feed that pops up in that search. The feed will showcase results from both people and pages.
Reports about Facebook introducing hashtags first surfaced in March, but the company refused to comment on speculation. The world's largest social network getting hashtags is kind of a big deal. Twitter is now dominating the second-screen phenomenon precisely because of users' ability to join global conversations.
Facebook noticed the pop culture conversations that were already happening on the network. In a Wednesday blog post, Facebook product manager Greg Lindley said between 88 and 100 million Americans are using Facebook during primetime TV hours, which means people are already talking about big events with no way to find out if a larger conversation is happening.
"To bring these conversations more to the forefront, we will be rolling out a series of features that surface some of the interesting discussions people are having about public events, people, and topics," Lindley wrote. "As a first step, we are beginning to roll out hashtags on Facebook."
It wouldn't surprise us if advertisers jump on the Facebook hashtag bandwagon, like they have on Twitter.
Now grab the popcorn: Time to see how your friends use (or abuse) this new freedom.