Things have changed over the years when it comes to using hashtags on LinkedIn but, as of September 2016, I’m pleased to say that they are making a welcome return! Hurrah!
The article at the bottom of this page was the initial situation when LinkedIn first introduced hashtags in 2013 – life was good and the world was full of the joys of hashtags, pushed primarily by Twitter if truth be told. LinkedIn followed suit and all was well in the online world with LinkedIn and Twitter cooperating in certain areas with some interlaced functionality when it came to updates and news.
Then divorce came – almost of Brangelina proportions – and the fall out began. It’s not clear if Twitter won custody of the hashtags but certainly LinkedIn was refused viewing rights and, in stark difference to the rest of the online world, LinkedIn strode on without hashtag support.
It seems though that time is indeed a big healer and last month on the LinkedIn App, hashtags once more became live and searchable again.
While this new element has not yet reached the desktop version, there are major changes afoot and they look certain to make a return there as well. Hopefully we might also get the return of the site wide search which would make LinkedIn a much more integrated and navigable environment – only time will tell.
I, for one, am very pleased – a return to this mainstream functionality seems sensible in my eyes and seems to reflect a more open stance from LinkedIn of late which I believe will serve them really well in the years ahead.
My only hope is that people don’t go silly and flood their posts with silly long hashtags which ultimately do no-one any great good in a futile attempt at humour and the like. #linkedinyeah #hopingforsense #hashtagsereturn #happymark #hashtagmadness
[Update 2: as of August 2016, strange things are afoot! When using the LinkedIn mobile app, you can now once again use hashtags which are showing up in the typical clickable way. This is still not the case on the desktop version but we can but hope that that will follow suit once again and maybe, just maybe, a site wide search again which would be very welcome. Watch this space!]
[Update: as of 29th July 2013, LinkedIn has removed the LinkedIn Signal functionality from the site and with it the use of hashtags as quoted below. A real pity because of its immense utility – if there are any ways to find the information it used to provide then I will report back here.]
[Initial post: March 2013] When we talk about hashtags, in most people’s minds they are primarily part of the Twitter ecosystem – the ability to categorise posts and allow people to search using those terms has certainly been of major benefit to tweeters. On LinkedIn, however, they have never been a particularly strong element, even less so after LinkedIn and Twitter’s ‘divorce’ of last year.
There has, however, been a little bit of a resurgence of late and LinkedIn has brought in an additional search option using hashtags that we might be wish to build into our own updates.
Currently, when you see an update which contains a hashtag, it should now appear as a clickable link. When you do click on it, this will take you through to LinkedIn Signal where it will display a list of all updates containing that particular hashtag. For certain topics, this may help you to build up additional insight into who is sharing what on the site, although it is unlikely to build up a picture of what is “trending” a la Twitter, simply because the quantity of updates is (thankfully) lower and the quality (hopefully) higher! Nevertheless, creating additional touchpoints and keeping it to the role that ‘hashtags’ were initially designed to fulfil can indeed prove valuable.
It is possible to search for the hashtags as well within the filtering options of Signal – if you head down to the bottom of the left hand column you’ll find one option is “Topics” which again allows you to filter by the hashtag of interest. Depending on what your initial search was, there may already be some suggested options in there already – if not it’s just a case of adding your own.
One thing to note is that in the new format that LinkedIn is in the process of introducing (Spring 2013), LinkedIn Signal is now accessible through the main search box by choosing ‘Updates’ and then carrying out the search as before. The results will be the same … just a different route to get you there.
While it might not be the most visible of the elements available, it is still another additional element that we can tap into within the LinkedIn site and use to potentially promote our activity. Personally I’m not a fan of the multiple tags that people succumb to on Twitter, but I do think that there is a place for tags when used as a “topic highlighter” where we can raise the profile of certain key elements in this simple yet clear way.
So, as is often my approach on LinkedIn, let’s always tap into the functions that are available to us on the site and make best use of them, even if they are not completely to your taste. The goal is to influence and attract people … if this helps, even in some small way, then it would be amiss of us not to tap into that!