I remember when hashtags were a big deal. I would see them all over Twitter, and people would tag their Instagram pictures with a crazy number of sometimes very amusing and seemingly mundane hashtags (i.e #boy #girl #food, all in one post). People started actually using the word “hashtag” in their speech and using it on platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook too.
The original purpose of the hashtag was to gather discussions and posts regarding one topic so that users all over the world could tune into the conversation. Even to this day, if I want to follow what is trending on Twitter I will just search a particular hashtag to read people’s thoughts and opinions. For me, it is the easiest way of seeing public posts about something, even to look up entertaining things, is to track a hashtag.
Now, however, machine learning called “computer vision” AI (artificial intelligence) has the capability of understanding images and posts through analyzing pixels. This eliminates the need for metadata, hashtags, or captions. This is a very advantageous thing for businesses because it allows them to make the most of their pixels.
Visual recognition will also allow businesses to understand consumer dialogue in a more accurate way. For example, using visual recognition to search “cookie” will bring more precise images of cookies, whereas searching “#cookie” might bring up individual’s pets named “Cookie” or other potentially irrelevant images. Hashtags are a great source of information, but can be cluttered with images and posts that are more subjective and specific to the particular users.
Brands and businesses are more interactive with their consumers than ever before, and this means that they need to sift through relevant information and curate as fast as possible. For example, many brands undergo contests and giveaways. Being able to organize the information that is most relevant to the contest or giveaway is very vital to the business
AI also has the capability to toss out unwanted, dangerous, or explicit information that is not necessary to a business’s core cause.
For businesses, it is in their best interest to invest in AI because hashtags will soon be an outdated and inefficient sorting tool of the past. A great way to do this is to partner with companies that excel in this aspect of technology, such as Clarifai.
The hashtag may go away, but I have a feeling that it will still stick around in casual social media settings. After all, often times all a Tweet needs to go from great to perfect is a #hashtag.