Are hashtags, #dead? The internet celebrated its birthday March 12th, turning 30 years old. If that doesn’t make you feel ancient, I’m not sure what will. Since then technology on the internet in general has gone through a whirlwind of changes and trends, most lasting only a few years at a time. Like the old saying goes, all good things must come to an end, but is that the case with the once powerful almighty hashtag?
With all of that said, let’s play a game of myth or truth about hashtags to get to the bottom of whether we should still be concerned with them or not.
Myth #1: Hashtags are Being utilized as Spam
Myth or Truth: TRUTH
Hashtags are in fact being used for spam, an issue that is becoming more problematic every day. Spammers or bots are more frequently utilizing hashtags for content irrelevant to the tag creating crowding and irrelevancy for each hashtag spammed. Gone are the days of using #fitnessgoals to find a simple workout video on social media. Who exactly does this effect? Businesses that once relied on hashtags to help their content be seen online. Through all of the noise of the internet, hashtags were actually invented to “filter” through all of the other content that tries to grab your attention. Now with bots utilizing hashtags as spam, Google and social sites such as Facebook and Twitter are cracking down to try and stop hashtag spam. The solution for businesses that use hashtags is to simply pick three unique hashtags per post that communicate the content you are trying to communicate to your customers.
Myth #2: Hashtags Are Being Used by Bots to Steal Information or Sway Public Opinion
Myth or Truth: TRUTH
As mentioned above, bots have started to take over, and are especially present on celebrity accounts, and large social media accounts where they buy some of their followers. These so-called followers are bots and computers that can then steal your information, track your interaction, and even possibly sway public opinion and choices. According to a New York Times article, approximately 60 million users are automated fake bot accounts, often impersonating people, stealing their photos and names pretending to be them while selling less than moral sites and products. Before you worry that the internet is a dangerous identity stealing place, just know that sites have been trying to tackle the large amounts of bots circulating the internet, and have been cracking down on the fake accounts.
Myth #3: Algorithms are Taking Over
Myth or Truth: TRUTH
Whether you love them, hate them, or love to hate them, algorithms are now a prominent part of social media, and promote what shows up on users feeds based on what content the user typically looks at. Instead of searching hashtags, users are simply being fed by the algorithm what it perceives they want to see the most. That being said, algorithms on social media are not perfect, often annoying users, especially those who rely on social media to communicate with their customers. Now more than ever businesses are having to post on a constant basis just to stay relevant, and to get seen on users feeds. It has become an overwhelming race to post photos at high traffic times of the day, garner as many likes in the first few minutes of posting, and finding the correct balance of hashtags, tags, and information just to be seen by more users. Social media may not be for everyone, but it certainly is important for businesses to stay active on all platforms to bring awareness to your business as a brand. Still feeling overwhelmed? Hire a marketing company!
Myth #4: Hashtags are DEAD
Myth or Truth: MYTH
Hashtags are in fact not dead, they are just losing their relevance in the way we filter our content. Businesses and marketers should take advantage of them for holiday marketing such as #HappyEaster, or for current events like #SuperBowlSunday, or even making up unique hashtags using your businesses name in which users can identify with. They have also been helpful in large social movements such as the explosive #MeToo movement, as well as other popular political or social movements like #BlackLivesMatter, or #MarriageEquality. Of course, they will always exist in popular culture, having sayings printed on t-shirts, stating #Coffee, or you may catch yourself saying aloud, “Wow, this company, Thrive Pop is #amazing!” Hashtags will always be around, they will just simply take a backseat from filtering our content, to now expressing trends, movements, and interesting unique subjects such as businesses, news, and social and political topics.
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