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Social media convergence: Have Facebook made a hash of it?

Social media is a curious sphere of online marketing as technology often imitates life, with users of one social network (e.g. Facebook) frequently suspicious and disparaging of those on another (e.g. Twitter).

So it should come as no surprise that many ardent Facebook fans have been left unimpressed by the news that the social network is to begin using hashtags in a similar way to Twitter.

This example of social media convergence brings Facebook in line not only with Twitter, the spiritual home of the hashtag, but also with Google+, which has supported them as shortcuts to search since its inception.

In terms of social media marketing, it’s a move that should probably be welcomed and embraced, as it means any cross-posts from Twitter on to Facebook will still contain usable hashtags, rather than looking odd and out of place.

The next hurdle to be overcome through social media convergence is likely to come from Google+, where usernames are prefaced by a + symbol, rather than by Twitter’s preferred option, the @ sign.

Finding a consistent method that does not look wrong in cross-posted status updates will be a challenge here, but the nature of social media convergence – where an innovative step by one social network is imitated by all of the others – means that one of the networks will likely make a move at some point in the years to come.

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