Facebook, #Copycat

If you keep up with the latest social media trends, you’ve probably already heard about the use of hashtags throughout Facebook, or if your page has been updated then you’ve already seen them, along with a new way to search known as “Graph Search”. Facebook Graph Search, launched in March of this year, is slowly making its way to every user on Facebook.

Graph search is a feature that lets you search just about anyone, friend or not, similar to how you’d search up something on Google. You can be as narrow as “Friends who like cats and dogs” or as broad as “Single men from London”.  My profile recently changed last week and now I can search for just about anything by typing in a simple keyword or yes, hashtags. But beware because this new feature exposes your page likes, photos, statuses, and more, so depending on what you want shared, you may have to go into your privacy settings and adjust that (yet again).

Now if you’re a Twitter, Google+, Instagram, or Vine user – you’ve seen and have probably utilized hashtags to make your content searchable by others. It’s still unclear as to why Facebook decided to add hashtags just recently, but we can assume it’s for the same reason they’re used on other social media platforms – to search.

That being said, it makes sense to add the hashtags shortly after the Graph Search launch, but the idea still gets mixed reviews because it’s nothing innovative or new. Instead, it’s a mere copy of an existing feature. You see, although hastags have been utilized on various social media platforms, it immediately creates discussion once it involves Facebook. Why? Because the idea originated on Twitter, their main competitor.

But wait, there’s more. Another change, recently announced on TechCrunch, is the release of a video feature on Instagram, which was bought by Facebook last summer. This app is said to compete directly with Vine, the video app owned by Twitter.  Vine, released in January of this year on iOS did not have the greatest start. Users were unsure how to maneuver the app and criticized the creators because of the lack of certain features like an inability to tag other users or switch to the front-facing camera (both now available). After Vine released an Android version earlier this month, the app surprisingly started to surpass Instagram in terms of usage and Twitter shares.

That being said, we’re unsure whether an Instagram video app will or will not surpass the up and coming Vine, but I guess it will be based on the features available and overall usability, which Vine initially lacked. No details have been released just yet, other than that users will be able to record and upload 8 to 10-second videos, similar to Vine’s 6-second video feature. A press conference is being held tomorrow, June 20, to announce details about the new Instagram video feature.

Now comes the question, where is the innovation on Facebook’s end? That’s not one, but two direct Twitter-related concepts being implemented under Facebook now.

Thus, the on-going Facebook vs Twitter battle continues. Will the new Instagram video feature triumph over the newbie Vine? We’ll see.


Kelsey Belgrave is a digital media coordinator at MSM DesignZ, Inc., a full service advertising and design firm based in Westchester County, New York.