Facebook Introduces Hashtags

July 23, 2013

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. trending [TREN-ding] (adj.) – currently popular on social media, especially Twitter
Example: The much talked-about presidential election is a trending topic right now.

2. real-time [REE-uh l tahym, reel] (adj.) – being updated or shown simultaneously as an event is happening
Example: Even without TV access, people get informed about the current events through real-time updates on the Internet.

3. hot spot [HOT spot] (n.) – an area or place that is interesting, popular, or lively
ExampleThe tourist was eager to upload the pictures of the country's hot spots on Facebook.

4. prime time [PRAHYM tahym] (n.) – the time during which the largest number of people are watching TV, usually between 8 and 11 PM
ExampleMany companies choose to show their advertisements during prime time so that more people will see them.

5. roll out [ROHL out] (phrasal v.) – to launch or introduce a new product, usually over a series of stages
ExampleFacebook rolled out the Chat Heads feature to iPhones first, and then to Android smartphones.


Read the text below.
Facebook has now adopted the "hashtag" feature to enable users and advertisers to easily follow and join in on trending events or topics.

Hashtag is a feature popularized by rival social networking site Twitter. With the hashtag feature, Facebook users can now group comments on a particular topic by typing the pound symbol (#) followed by a keyword.

Hashtags are very handy for social media users who want to join and follow real-time online conversations on a variety of topics, such as politics, sports, and TV shows. Advertisers also benefit from the hashtag since it is an easy way to find hot spots of user activity. The feature also allows Facebook to easily reach a particular audience.

Justin Osofsky, director of operations at Facebook, said that as much as 100 million Americans log in to Facebook every night during the hours of prime time TV, especially if the TV show is very popular.

However, whether the level of activity and comments on the website will be as high as on Twitter is still not clear even with the new hashtag feature. This uncertainty is because tweets are often public and viewable to all users; while most comments posted on Facebook are visible only to a user's circle of friends.

As a response to this uncertainty, Facebook said that aside from the hashtags, it will also roll out several other features that will further highlight discussions about events on the social networking site.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you think Facebook’s introduction of the hashtag will be of big help to its users? Why or why not?
·         Why do you think many people like to discuss TV shows, movies, sports events, and news stories on the Internet?

Discussion B

·         Do you think social media has reduced people’s ability to communicate face-to-face? Why do you say so?
·         How else do social media affect people’s relationship with each other?


July 23, 2013