Data-mining is fast becoming the purpose of Facebook as Facebook is preparing to roll out hashtags on the giant social network, opening up another front in its intensifying battle with Twitter for people's attention, according to the March 15, 2013 news article, "Facebook hashtags? Annoying Twitter feature is data-mining." Facebook will have one more way to sell when it makes its announcement, according to today's news article, "Copying Twitter Hashtags Gives Facebook Yet Another Way to Sell."
Facebook is testing whether to follow Twitter's lead and allow users to click on a hashtag to pull up all posts about similar topics or events, reports the Wall Street Journal today in its news article, "Facebook Working on Incorporating the Hashtag." Catching up to Twitter and other rivals, the company will incorporate hashtags into its network, The Wall Street Journal reports. See, " Facebook to roll out hashtags, step up competition with Twitter."
Facebook is reportedly considering co-opting Twitter and following its previous aping of the Twitter model of following strangers and sharing content publicly. Each time you click on a hashtag, you'll see numerous other posts with the same tag. The goal is to show what's trending.
Then the most popular pages on social media can be tracked and used to generate more advertising money by studying demographics and popularity in trends. What goes viral can be a money-maker. To see what's trending in Facebook, follow the money as Facebook looks at what's happening with Twitter in the competition between the two social media giants.
Facebook is testing the idea of supporting the use of hashtags in posts to the social network, according to reports in The Wall Street Journal and other publications. Facebook has declined to comment on the reports. Hashtags first emerged on Twitter.
Many people not familiar with social media don't know how a hashtag is used presently or in the past, unless they're in the publishing or other media-related industry. Hashtags are preceded by a hash mark ("#"). They're used because they can be tracked and aggregated on Twitter as they would presumably be on Facebook, if Facebook decides to use them. Twitter shows which tags are trending.
Hashtags will be used Facebook if it decides to use them as 'vectors' that point direction to advertisers of what's trending online as most popular social media
When you have a device that points direction (a vector), then advertisers can pay to promote their own hashtags alongside Twitter's list of most common hashtags, if Facebook incorporates the use of hashtags.
Pages that show the most posts, and therefore the greatest 'trends' linked to a particular hashtag means that advertising can make more money on those pages. Just follow the money by following the trend popoularity. That becomes the direction or 'vector' advertisers follow.
On Facebook, advertisers could hypothetically "promote" user posts that contain particular hashtags just as they now promote "likes" of their business pages, notes the March 15, 2013 CNN news article by Ryan Tate, "Copying Twitter hashtags another way for Facebook to make money."
Promoted posts could receive longer and more prominent placement on Facebook's News Feed
If you look at the more numerous non-promoted items, they're simply sorted by relevance. It appears that mostly the highest trending pages would get attention through prominent placement because the pages are emphasized and promoted more when they're trending or more popular than the importance of the information to making the world healthier, more peaceful, or more sustainable in many instances.
The reason is as you follow the money, the popularity goes to the sites that go more viral in how many people pay attention to them. Yet, if people don't know they exist because they're not prominent or promoted, they won't get the chance to know how valuable the information could be to individuals who need the information to thrive.
It's as if more attention is paid to the lives of celebrities than to the latest discoveries in medicine, technology, or education. Celebrity, royalty, or very wealthy people's choices in diets, fashions, or health solutions usually trend higher in popularity than choices by scientists, teachers, or librarians. How hashtags generate money is through advertising on the most popular pages online.
People usually follow the rich and famous or the most heavily promoted and prominent rather than the quietest information resources or databases online, even though those pages may have the most current information waiting for the media to broadcast. Facebook and Twitter appear to attract similar social media audiences. Which one will attract the most readers in the near future?
The 'war' between Facebook and Twitter in the tech press
Competition between Twitter and Facebook is viewed by the media as a 'war' between Facebook and Twitter that's framed in the technical media. On one hand, Facebook is vying and competing vigorously for the attention of its users in order to generate more money from its advertisers.
If you follow the money, the outcome is predicted to be whatever will have the greatest ability to grow more advertising dollars. That's the only way to make money in social media--by keeping and adding paying advertisers on the Facebook pages, or for Twitter, on the Twitter sites. Hashtags will be one more way to track the trends.